Massive 300+ dog 'puppy farm' plans set up in NSW

MEDIA RELEASE: 15 FEBRUARY 2021

MASSIVE 300+ DOG ‘PUPPY FARM’ PLANS SET UP IN NSW: PUPPY FARMERS PUSHED OUT OF VIC FLOOD INTO NSW

 

Former Family First candidate Ashley Fenn, who reportedly owned an illegal puppy farm site in VIC, has been revealed as the applicant for a planned 300+ dog puppy farm in Moama, NSW. 

The development application for the facility – which is expected to house up to 200 dogs and 120 puppies – has been opened for public submissions by Murray River Council. Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst says massive puppy farms like this are flooding into NSW where our weak laws do nothing to stop the intensive factory farming of dogs.

“Our worst fears have become a reality. Following a Victorian ban on puppy farming, we are seeing a surge of dubious breeders coming across the border into New South Wales,” said Ms Hurst.

“Mr Fenn was the owner of a property in Victoria that housed an illegal puppy farm. The manager of the facility was convicted of animal cruelty and banned from operating a domestic animal business for 10 years. Now that puppy farming is banned in Victoria, it seems Mr Fenn has come to set up shop in New South Wales. 

“A puppy farm is the intensive factory farming of dogs to supply the pet trade industry. Dogs are often forced to pump out litter after litter until their bodies can no longer cope. The NSW Government has failed to outlaw this vile industry. While it remains legal, dogs in this industry will continue to suffer. 

“As long as the NSW Government allows puppy farming to remain legal, intensive dog breeders will continue to cross the border and set up in our state. That is why I have tabled legislation in Parliament to ban the intensive factory farming of dogs. We must ensure companion animals in New South Wales have the same protections as they do across the border.

“Murray River Council have already approved the development of multiple puppy farms last year, including one right across the road from Mr Fenn’s proposed site. With more and more puppy farmers moving into our state, Moama is fast becoming the puppy farming capital of New South Wales.

“As I continue to push for urgently needed law reform to stop this legalised form of animal cruelty, Murray River Council must listen to the community and stop this disgusting development from going ahead,” said Ms Hurst.

Oscar’s Law, Australia’s leading charity campaigning to ending puppy farming, was previously involved in the investigation into the illegal VIC puppy farm associated with Mr Fenn’s property in 2018. 

“The application for this puppy factory is a very clear example of why we need nationally consistent puppy farming legislation. As strong new laws take effect in Victoria, it is easy for puppy farmers to simply cross the border to New South Wales and carry on exploiting dogs,” said Georgie Purcell, President of Oscar’s Law.

“The applicant for this Moama-based puppy factory was previously linked to a Victorian-based puppy factory, which had over 70 dogs and cats living in neglect and the manager subsequently charged with cruelty – including failing to provide veterinary care. 

“Oscar’s Law is joining with Emma Hurst to call on Murray River Council to make a compassionate decision for dogs. It would be simply irresponsible to allow this puppy factory to proceed,” said Ms Purcell.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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Investigation find thousands of animal "crush" fetish videos in Australia sparking calls for new laws

MEDIA RELEASE: 28 JANUARY 2021

INVESTIGATION FINDS THOUSANDS OF ANIMAL “CRUSH” FETISH VIDEOS IN AUSTRALIA SPARKING CALLS FOR NEW LAWS

 

Animal crush or animal ‘snuff’ videos are sexualised fetish videos involving the torture, crushing and killing of animals. A recent investigation found thousands of crush videos easily available for Australians to buy, download, save, watch and trade. Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst says new laws must be introduced. 

“While the act of bestiality and crushing of animals is illegal, there is NO specific offence in NSW which makes it illegal to possess or distribute bestiality or animal crush footage or images,” said Ms Hurst.

“We hired an open source investigator to find out how much of an ‘issue’ this was in Australia- and what we found was shocking.

"There are thousands of these fetish videos depicting the crushing and killing of kittens, puppies, dogs, baby chicks, snakes, rabbits, pigs, mice, ducklings, fish and insects,” said Ms Hurst.

Numerous websites, and even social media channels were identified for hosting or promoting crush videos, including one titled, “DreamCrush Australia”.

“By outlawing the possession of this graphic material, we can give police the powers necessary to investigate and charge the sick individuals who find the suffering of others sexually gratifying,” continued Ms Hurst.

“Research has shown that people who enjoy animal cruelty are likely involved in other criminal activity including child abuse and child pornography. Creating this new offence will give the police greater ability to prosecute people involved in both child and animal abuse, and could help obtain stronger sentences.

“I have been involved in animal protection for a long time and I’ve seen a lot of animal cruelty, but these videos depict some of the worst things I have ever witnessed. Our laws should protect animals from these vile zoosadists- currently they do not. 

“This must be made a crime. I actually can’t believe that possessing and trading in these videos is currently legal. I’ll be taking the findings from this investigation to the Attorney General’s office,” said Ms Hurst.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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Protest to protect remaining Stockton Breakwall cats

MEDIA RELEASE: 13 JANUARY 2021

TOMORROW: PROTEST TO PROTECT REMAINING STOCKTON BREAKWALL CATS

 

Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst will be headlining a protest calling on the Port of Newcastle to protect the remaining cats residing at the Stockton Breakwall, and guarantee there will be no further bloodbaths. Over 150 local community members have indicated they will attend the protest.

The protest action follows a disastrously botched attempt to shoot and kill the cats in December last year. The Port of Newcastle admit to commissioning the kill that community cat carers say left the animals maimed and bloodied.

“Last year a Rambo-style shooting operation ordered by the Port of Newcastle left cats with open gun-shot wounds and permanently blinded. We can’t allow this horrendous bloodbath to happen again,” said Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst.

“We are protesting to demand that the Port of Newcastle makes a public commitment for no further carnage.”

While another kill has reportedly been postponed, the local community say that last year’s cruelty was unforgivable and cannot be repeated. At the time of issuing this release, the Port of Newcastle has not publicly stated whether it will be proceeding with further kills.

“Last year’s massacre was cruel, thoughtless and utterly unnecessary. I understand there is an ongoing investigation for breaches to animal cruelty legislation. It’s unthinkable that the Port of Newcastle would ever consider going ahead with further killing” said Ms Hurst.

“The authorities should be very seriously considering a prosecution for animal cruelty. Many of these cats were reportedly left injured and alive suffering for an extended period of time. We stand united today against the atrocity and cruelty that occurred last year, and in demanding this does not happen again.

“These cats are being looked after and cared for by locals in the community. Several had already been removed from the breakwall and given homes. Many of the Stockton Breakwall cats have been desexed and microchipped as part of a long-running, responsible trap-neuter- return and care (TNR) program. There is simply no justifiable reason to kill them.

“The Government should be supporting community cat carers running trap-neuter-return and care programs. Overseas, these programs have proven to be humane and effective ways to reduce the number of homeless cats. I’ll be calling for funding and legislative changes that will support TNR programs in Parliament once it resumes in February" said Ms Hurst.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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MP condemns Stockton Breakwall cat shooting

MEDIA STATEMENT: 19 DECEMBER 2020

 

Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst is calling on the authorities to urgently investigate cruelty claims in regards to the Port of Newcastle shooting of the Stockton Breakwall Cats. 

“I’m hearing reports from concerned locals that cats have been shot in the head and blinded, but left alive with gaping wounds. This sounds like a horrendous bloodbath and it’s simply not enough that the Port of Newcastle is conducting their own internal investigation. The authorities must step in and investigate possible breaches to our animal protection laws. 

“It’s unthinkable that the Port of Newcastle funded what appears to be a Rambo-style shooting operation on these colony cats.

“These cats were part of a responsible trap, neuter, return and care program. They were being fed and looked after by caring locals. This massacre was cruel, thoughtless and utterly unnecessary. 

“Locals who cared for these cats have reported that they found many cats alive Friday morning with open gunshot wounds. The suffering of these sentient beings would be immeasurable- and someone has to take responsibility for this careless and cruel act.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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Captive dolphin entertainment could come to an end following NSW inquiry

MEDIA RELEASE: 14 DECEMBER 2020

CAPTIVE DOLPHIN ENTERTAINMENT COULD COME TO AN END FOLLOWING NSW INQUIRY

 

Today a NSW Upper House committee report on the use of captive cetaceans for entertainment has confirmed that the industry in NSW is a dying business model, making recommendations that the NSW Government end the breeding of dolphins for commercial purposes, and  provide assistance for the feasibility of a sea sanctuary to retire the three remaining dolphins in captive entertainment in NSW.

The committee’s Deputy Chair, Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst, says the report reflects that dolphinariums are an outdated industry no longer supported by the community.

“Today’s report clearly recognises that the use of cetaceans for so called ‘entertainment’ is not accepted in NSW,” said Ms Hurst.

“The Committee has called on the Government to support moves to retire the three remaining captive dolphins who currently reside at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park in Coffs Harbour to a world first sea sanctuary, and to place new restrictions on the breeding of dolphins in captivity, effectively ending their use in entertainment businesses.

“Together these recommendations would effectively end the exploitation of dolphins in NSW and stop ‘abuse-ment parks’ like Sea World setting up in NSW.

“The Committee also recommended additional funding be provided for marine rescue and rehabilitation efforts, transforming NSW from being one of the least to one of the most dolphin-friendly states in Australia.

“These recommendations come off the back of a weight of evidence from animal welfare experts, academics, scientists and the general public, all calling for an end to the exploitation of dolphins in NSW.

“During the inquiry we heard from experts that captive dolphins display aggressive and stereotypical behaviour that is unseen in the wild. These behaviours are evidence of high stress levels in captivity.

“The writing is on the wall- these animals were not born to perform. They do not exist for our entertainment. They deserve a life worth living, and this Inquiry has established that dolphinarium industries can never provide this.

“The Upper House inquiry followed a ban on the use of cetaceans for entertainment in Canada, and the Inquiry heard that Victoria had similar regulations ensuring protection of these animals. 

“After so many years of allowing exploitation, it is my hope that the State Government will follow the recommendations of the committee. The recommendations had the support of animal protection groups, as well as the last remaining dolphinarium in NSW.

“No animal should have to spend their life being held captive and forced to perform humiliating tricks for a dwindling number of spectators. Today’s report makes clear that there is cross-party support for better protection laws for dolphins in NSW. It’s time to empty the tanks,” said Ms Hurst.

 

Summary of report recommendations regarding captive dolphins in NSW:

  • That the NSW Government provide support to the Dolphin Marine Conservation Park, Action for Dolphins and World Animal Protection, to enable the completion of a feasibility study into relocating the dolphins at the marine park to a sea sanctuary.
  • The NSW Government consider applying limitations on the breeding of cetaceans which allow for breeding or conservation purposes.
  • The NSW Government consider providing financial assistance to support marine rescue and rehabilitation work in NSW.

 

FULL REPORT HERE: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2555#tab-reportsandgovernmentresponses 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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Penalties for animal abuse set to drastically increase in NSW

MEDIA RELEASE: 9 NOVEMBER 2020

BREAKING: PENALTIES FOR ANIMAL ABUSE SET TO DRASTICALLY INCREASE IN NSW

 

Following a spate of weak fines in NSW for acts of animal abuse, Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst will introduce new legislation increasing penalties for animal cruelty offences in NSW Parliament tomorrow. 

“Our tough crack down on animal cruelty has got the Government’s attention, and their support,” said Ms Hurst.

“NSW currently has some of the weakest penalties for animal cruelty in Australia. We’ve seen countless perpetrators receiving nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Recently a puppy basher received a fine of just $600, and a man who beat a mother ringtail possum to death received no fine or jail time. This has to urgently change.

“Currently an act of animal cruelty in NSW faces a maximum fine of just $5,500 and/or 6-months imprisonment. In Victoria the same act of abuse has a maximum fine of $40,000 and/or 1 year imprisonment. 

“My legislation will take New South Wales from being one of the softest states on animal cruelty, to one of the toughest. This new legislation will include mandatory minimum penalties, and an increase in maximum penalties to $55,000 and/or up to 1-year’s imprisonment for an individual act of animal cruelty.

“This legislation will also ensure that any person convicted of bestiality, or aggravated or serious animal cruelty will receive a mandatory, lifelong ban on caring for an animal,” said Ms Hurst.

As recently as September, the Government indicated it would not increase penalties anytime soon – despite having strong support from the community, RSPCA, Animal Welfare League and NSW Police to do so.

However, following Ms Hurst successfully passing a motion calling for tougher penalties in the NSW Upper House on October 21 and announcing her intention to table legislation in November, the Government has indicated they will bring in their own legislation this week, similar to that proposed by the Animal Justice Party. 

“Only after we passed our notice of motion and announced our legislation, has the Government decided to take action,” continued Ms Hurst.

“While we are yet to see a copy of Minister Marshall’s bill, we welcome the Government finally taking action on this important issue. 

“Animal cruelty is a serious, violent crime and must be punished accordingly. If the Government’s legislation does not go far enough we will seek to amend it to ensure that NSW have the toughest penalties across the country. 

“We need a ‘no tolerance’ stance to animal abuse in this state. Given the NSW Parliament will now be considering both Animal Justice Party and Government legislation on this issue, we are confident there will be major changes in this space and better protection laws for animals,” said Ms Hurst.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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Emma Hurst MP calls for a ban on horse racing after the death of Anthony Van Dyck

MEDIA STATEMENT: 3 NOVEMBER 2020

 

Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst is calling for an urgent ban on horse racing following the death of Anthony Van Dyck today. Anthony is the seventh horse to fall victim to the Melbourne Cup in recent years.

Please see quotes below from Emma Hurst MLC:

“Its time for this cruel and outdated industry to end. Anthony Van Dyck is the latest victim of the disgrace that stops a nation, but his tale of tragedy is all too familiar. Seven horses have died from racing in the Melbourne Cup since 2013.

“This is a brutal industry. In the last racing year 116 horses were killed on Australian racetracks. In fact, a racehorse dies in Australia every 3 days.

“How many more horses must die in this vile spectacle before something is done to stop it?

“This latest death is unacceptable. Anthony Van Dyck was only four years old. He did not deserve to die.

“Every year, more and more people are recognising that the racing industry is synonymous with animal cruelty. Its time politicians do their job to protect animals and just ban the whole vile industry.

“When gambling and animals mix, no one wins.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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Convicted dog abuser successfully reduces sentence: MP response

MEDIA STATEMENT: 15 OCTOBER 2020

 

Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst is calling for tougher penalties for animal cruelty in NSW, following another animal abuser successfully reducing his sentence on appeal. 

John Odah from Concord viciously beat Eiffel, the dog, by repeatedly kicking him in the head. He recorded these beatings and sent the footage to his ex-girlfriend, in a sick attempt to get revenge after finding her on a dating site. Mr Odah was originally charged with a 2 year community corrections order, banned from having a dog for 2 years and received no fine. In a damning reflection of our failing animal cruelty laws, today his sentence was reduced even further to just 11 months, and Mr Odah will be allowed another animal in less than 1 year.

 

Please see comment below from Emma Hurst MLC:

This man is a danger to the community. Today’s shocking ruling fails to recognise both the seriousness of his crimes, and the proven link between domestic violence and animal abuse.

The original sentence was already weak and did not match the severity of his crime. Mr Odah caused extreme stress, pain, suffering and anxiety to an animal in an act of violence directed at his ex-partner. Now, his sentence has been weakened even further by the courts.

The decision to let this man have another animal in his lifetime is sickening, let alone within one year. Mr Odah beat Eiffel multiple times, leaving him with engorged blood vessels in his eyes and skin ulceration. Eiffel was found by the RSPCA in a pool of his own diarrhoea. Anyone who abuses an animal must receive a lifetime ban on having an animal in their care.

This is yet another case highlighting why we need an urgent increase in animal cruelty penalties in NSW. An act of animal cruelty in NSW faces a maximum fine of just $5500. In Victoria the same act of abuse would have considered a maximum fine of $40,000. In South Australia, the maximum is $50,000. Weak penalties in NSW are failing to protect animals.

Sentences like this put all victims of domestic violence at risk by showing perpetrators they can get away with acts of extreme violence towards animals with just a slap on the wrist. Our laws must be updated to reflect the decades of research showing that violence does not discriminate. When we fail to take seriously violent acts towards animals we will never overcome violence in other areas of society.

It is unclear why the Minister for Agriculture hasn’t acted to increase penalties to ensure animals and our communities are protected from violence. With countless perpetrators of animal cruelty getting off with weak sentences just like this, tougher penalties are urgently needed.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: ROSINA RAYNS, 0401 991 792

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MP Response to new report: Up to 3 in 5 domestic violence victims report animal abuse

MEDIA STATEMENT: 27 AUGUST 2020

 

Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst is calling for urgent Government action following a report released by Women’s Safety NSW today, revealing up to three in five victims of domestic and family violence report animal abuse after a domestic violence incident.

Please see quotes below from Emma Hurst MLC:

“This report clearly highlights that urgent legislative reform is needed to protect animal and human victims of domestic violence.

“Up to three in five victims report animal abuse also occurred as part of an act of domestic violence. This is upsetting but not surprising, especially given the plethora of research confirming a link between domestic violence and animal abuse. It’s time to take animal cruelty seriously.

“In domestic and family violence situations, abusers often manipulate and control others through threatened or actual violence against beloved companion animals. This report makes this link horrifyingly clear, with threats to harm animals reported by 94 percent of specialists as the most common form of abuse.

“This latest data is higher than figures seen in previous Australian studies suggesting there is still a pervaive nature of violence in Australia. It is clear that not enough is being done to recognise and address the link between domestic violence and animal abuse.

“Violence does not discriminate. If we fail to take seriously violent acts towards animals, we will never overcome violence in other areas of our society.

“The community knows our laws are failing. 92 percent of respondents reported believing that agencies including the Police and RSPCA do not have the appropriate powers to adequately deal with animal abuse in the context of domestic and family violence.

“I will continue to work on behalf of survivors and domestic violence specialists, who are calling for legislative changes allowing victims to take custody of their companion animals, include animals on ADVOs, and laws that recognise the link between animal and human violence.

“We urgently need more Government funding so that emergency accommodation can also house companion animals, tougher penalties to deter animal abuse, and a revision of our tenancy laws to ensure affordable and secure rental accommodation is accessible for families to stay together with animals long-term.

“The Animal Justice Party is working towards these reforms that will protect both human and non-human victims of violence.

 

Key Data:

• Up to three in five victims of domestic and family violence report animal abuse after a domestic violence police incident.

  • Threats to harm animals by those committing domestic violence was reported by 94% of specialists as the most common form of abuse.

  • 87.5%of respondents believed the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act (NSW) should be amended to more explicitly acknowledge harm to animals as grounds for seeking an Apprehended Do- mestic Violence Order (ADVO).

  • 94% of respondents agreed the mandatory order on ADVOs should also include animals who are con- nected with the person so that they are automatically protected.

  • 92% of respondents believed enforcing and investigating agencies, including Police and the RSPCA do not have the appropriate scope of power when dealing with animal abuse to be able to account for do- mestic and family violence contexts.

 

WOMEN’S SAFETY NSW REPORT AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

MEDIA CONTACT: Rosina Rayns, 0401 991 792

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Animals in Strata: By-Law Change Last Night

MEDIA STATEMENT: 26 AUGUST 2020

 

Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst has passed a groundbreaking amendment in the NSW Upper House, stopping strata schemes from passing by-laws unreasonably preventing owners and occupiers from having companion animals.

Please see quotes below from the Hon. Emma Hurst MLC:

There are apartment and townhouse complexes in NSW that have by-laws that prevent people from having a companion animal, and there is nothing stopping strata management from retrospectively creating restrictions for residents who already live under a strata scheme. This amendment is changing that.

My amendment will ensure stories like that of Colin and his greyhound Bu - who were living in a Bellevue Hill apartment until a sudden change to the by-laws resulted in Colin being told Bu could no longer live with him - will not occur.

Colin, who is elderly and suffering a range of health issues, was distressed and unsure what to do.  Thankfully he managed to get the support of some lawyers and the community, and after a significant media campaign, the strata scheme agreed to allow Bu to stay. But sadly, Colin’s story is not an isolated incident.

In the past few years, there have been a number of court cases seeking to challenge these by-laws.

Currently, the Strata Schemes Management Act allows owners corporations to pass by-laws which ban animals from being kept in an apartment building, unless the animal is an assistance animal.

Our amendment, which passed in the Upper House last night, provides that a by-law will have no force or effect to the extent it unreasonably prohibits having an animal in a strata complex.

This means that the strata scheme would have a legitimate basis to withhold permission for someone wanting to bring a horse into a one-bedroom apartment, but they couldn’t prevent owner occupiers from rescuing a cat.

It is unacceptable that we would require someone to have to choose between selling an apartment they own, or losing their companion animal – simply because of a by-law.

There are hundreds of thousands of healthy cats and dogs in pounds looking for forever homes- and many loving families who can provide these homes. This change in the legislation will help those families to be able to safely adopt and save a life without risking having to lose their homes.

We are a nation of animal lovers, and our state must become more companion animal friendly- this is the first step.

I am proud to say that the Legislative Council has passed my amendment, protecting the ability of humans and animals to live together securely in apartment complexes regulated by strata by-laws. The amendment will now go to the lower house before becoming law.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Rosina Rayns, 0401 991 792

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