Loophole in legislation allowing questionable breeders to rise – Dogs NZ

A loophole in the law allows for lax controls on puppy breeding and dog breeding and new legislation is desperately needed, according to an industry association.

Some puppies are being sold for thousands of dollars, in what an industry expert says is an under-legislative environment.
Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

High demand for puppies, both during the lockdowns and afterwards, has been accompanied by an explosion in the number of backyard breeders producing them, but not all of them were good, the manager says by Dogs New Zealand, Steven Thompson.

While dog breeding was a hobby for many in his organization, there had been an increase in the number of those who were in it purely for the income.

The pups were frequently sold for between $3,000 and $8,000 each, he said. But dog breeders were not required to register their activities, making it difficult to track rogue operators.

“You have two laws that deal with animal welfare – the Animal Welfare Law and the Dog Control Law, but there is no specific law at the moment that deals with animal welfare. activity of dog breeders or cat breeders.This leaves a void.

“There has to be regulation in the industry…anytime you have a demand in a market you’re going to have a supply to meet the demand, it’s basic economics…there are people who have been attracted by money.

Prior to 2020, around 100-120 new kennels signed up with Dogs NZ every year, but that number had grown rapidly to around 200 new applicants every year now.

“But we’re just a small part of the whole industry, people sign up with us when they’re breeding purebred dogs, and purebred dogs are only 18% of the whole industry. the dog population,” he said.

SPCA inspectors seized around 20 designer dogs while executing a search warrant at a property in Christchurch yesterday, and an investigation has been opened into the activities taking place there.

Emergency services had to be called for help because environmental inspectors were entering the property and were deemed “unsafe”.

This follows one of the largest lawsuits in SPCA history, which led to a nine-year-old dog ban for two German Shepherd breeders. The mother and daughter kept more than 60 dogs in filthy conditions, some malnourished, without access to water or shelter and with untreated infections.

Stricter laws for keeping pets had already been enacted in many places overseas, and it was inevitable that they would be introduced here as well, Thompson said. However, he cautioned that careful balances must be considered.

“You have to be very careful with the legislation, you don’t want to punish breeders who are doing the right thing, who are looking out for the health and welfare of the dogs involved, because if you get too punitive you’re driving him into hiding, and that’s what you don’t want to do.

“We have to be very careful…we make sure that he takes care of the good breeders and allows them to continue their activities, while raising the level of the industry as a whole…and allows certain checks so that you can drive out the bad guys.”

The German Shepherd breeders were convicted after the SPCA’s lawsuit was filed with Dogs NZ, and the organization had “fallen” into oversight of that kennel, Thompson said. But he had “learned a few lessons from this whole environment”.

He said members’ operations would be monitored and they could be suspended from the organization if they did not follow the breeders’ code of conduct and internal regulations.

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