On Wednesday, 15 December 2021, the Dog Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2020 was passed through the WA Parliament. This means changes to the Dog Act 1976 will be implemented to regulate dog breeding in the state of Western Australia. However, until the laws come into effect, there are no laws to protect dogs from puppy farming or any indiscriminate and irresponsible breeders.

If you'd like to be kept informed of the implementation process for new laws to Stop Puppy Farming, please sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page.

On this page, you'll find:

RSPCA WA worked with the WA State Government to develop these new laws to regulate dog breeding in Western Australia.

 

What is a puppy farm?

A puppy farm is an intensive dog breeding facility that is operated under inadequate conditions that fail to meet the dogs' behavioural, social and/or physiological needs.

Puppy farms are also referred to as puppy mills, puppy factories or backyard breeders.

 

What are the welfare concerns of puppy farms?

Since dog breeding is not regulated in Western Australia, RSPCA WA Inspectors can only take action under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 if reports are made about the welfare of dog and puppies.

The welfare concerns around puppy farms include:

  • lack of access to basic needs like adequate food, water and shelter
  • lack of proper vet care or grooming
  • overcrowded conditions that prevent exercise or play
  • lack of socialisation with people and other dogs and animals
  • lack of hygiene
  • breeding conditions of female dogs (bitches), including being bred too young, bred too frequently between litters, or bred too often (again and again over many years). 

 

How can I avoid puppy farms?

  1. Adopt, don't shop.
    Consider providing a home for an animal who needs a second chance at a happy life. RSPCA and many reputable shelters and rescue groups try to rehome thousands of abandoned, neglected and homeless animals every year. 
     
  2. Find a reputable breeder.
    If your heart is set on a particular breed, deal directly with a registered Dogs West breeder. Get references from their previous clients and insist on visiting their premises, inspecting the conditions in which the dogs are kept and bred, and meeting your puppy's parents.

  3. Do not buy online.
    As tempting and easy as it might seem, do not buy your puppy online. Unscrupulous backyard breeders use many tactics to make you feel assured that your new puppy has come from a good home. Be wary of ads that offer home delivery, that will only send still images, and that discourage you from visiting their premises to inspect them. Always ask for references of previous clients. Also avoid buying any pets from pet shops, markets, car boot sales and newspaper ads.

Download the RSPCA Smart Puppy Buyer's Guide

 

What is RSPCA WA doing about Puppy Farming in WA?

In November 2017, RSPCA WA was invited by the WA Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries to join the Stop Puppy Farming Implementation Working Group. Chaired by Lisa Baker MLA, the group consisted of industry members including the Australian Veterinary Association, Dogs West, Australian Federation of Livestock Working Dogs, Pet Industry Association, WA Rangers Association, and representatives from other shelters, rescue and interest groups.

The working group developed draft regulations which were released for public consultation in 2018. Based on the public's response during this consultation period, draft legislation was drawn up during 2019, and in February 2020, the Dog Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2020 (the Bill) was introduced into WA State Parliament.

The Bill was passed in the Legislative Assembly, but progress was delayed when WA Parliament was prorogued at the end of 2020. The COVID-19 Pandemic and the WA State Election in March 2021 also provided challenges to the progress of the Bill through WA Parliament, but on Wednesday, 15 December 2021, the Bill was finally passed into law.

Throughout this period, RSPCA WA has kept the public informed of the important changes that are being proposed, how it might affect current dog owners, and giving the community as much information as possible so they can make informed decisions to support these changes.

If you'd like to help, please let your local Member of Parliament know that you expect their support to get these new laws enacted so that we can Stop Puppy Farming in Western Australia.

 

What do the new laws mean for dog owners?

The changes outlined in the Dog Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2020 means the Dog Act 1976 will be updated. The following changes will be made.

  1. Dogs are to be de-sexed, unless they are exempt, to prevent unplanned breeding or overbreeding.
  2. People who wish to breed from their dog will need to register, allowing all breeders to be traced.
  3. Information on dogs (and cats) to be held in a centralised registration system to allow information to be readily shared across the State.
  4. Pet shops that sell dogs will only be permitted to source their dogs from bona fide, approved rescue groups and shelters in WA.

In addition to the above changes to the Dog Act 1976, the State Government has removed the muzzling requirement for pet or retired greyhounds when in public places. Pet or retired greyhounds will still need to be kept on a leash at all times when in public places. (Racing greyhounds are still be required to be muzzled in public places under the Greyhound Rules of Racing, administered by Racing and Wagering Western Australia).

Mandatory and enforceable standards for dog breeding, housing, husbandry, transport and sale will also be introduced under the Animal Welfare Act 2002.

 

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