What is puppy farming?
- While there is no legal definition of a puppy farm, they are generally understood to be intensive dog breeding facilities that breed large numbers of puppies for profit, often keeping them in inhumane conditions to produce as many puppies as possible.
What is life like for a dog in a puppy farm?
- Breeding or mother dogs in puppy farms are confined for the majority of their lives, and in some cases, their entire life. They are continually impregnated to supply a commercial market.
- Many breeding dogs suffer painful and untreated health conditions; such as eye infections, ear infections, mammary tumours, hip dysplasia and skin infections.
- When a mother dog can no longer produce, she is often killed and replaced.
- Puppy farm dogs are not walked and are deprived of social interaction, companionship, environmental enrichment. They are not given a chance to bond with a human the same way a pet dog in a family home does.
- Dogs that begin and live their lives on puppy farms can develop severe psychological damage and, even when rescued, may never fully recover. Some dogs remain fearful and require extensive rehabilitation to get them to the stage where they can be adopted.
- In many cases puppies born on puppy farms have serious illnesses or genetic defects due to poor breeding practices, with some of them becoming so sick they die before they are sold or shortly after.
- Because of the high number of behavioural and medical issues seen in puppy farm dogs, shelters often receive unwanted dogs born on puppy farms.
How are puppy farms still able to exist in NSW in 2020?
- Running a puppy farm, and selling dogs in pet stores, is currently legal in NSW.
- Further, NSW does not have a comprehensive breeder licensing scheme to enable the authorities to identify who is running these puppy farms or where they are located. NSW also does not have caps in breeder dog numbers, or the number of litters they can produce.
- In fact, while the RSPCA recognises puppy farming as a major animal protection issue, they do not know how many exist. Media reports have suggested there may be upwards of 200 puppy farms across NSW.
- Most puppy farms operate in secret and out of public view, which makes it difficult for groups like the RSPCA to identify and locate these intensive breeding operations. They rely heavily on individual complaints from the public to track them down.
- Even then, because puppy farms are not illegal in NSW, the RSPCA can only intervene and seize the dogs in limited circumstances – for example, where there is animal cruelty that breaches the criminal law. But forcing a mother dog to spend her life confined indoors, in a cycle of impregnation and giving birth until she dies, is not an offence in NSW.
Why is it a problem in NSW?
- Victoria has recently passed legislation banning puppy farms and Western Australia is moving to do the same. While this is great news, it means many puppy farms are relocating to NSW where our laws are far weaker.
- There is already growing concern in communities bordering Victoria and Queensland of an increasing number of puppy farms being built in the area because running a puppy farm, by itself, is not currently illegal in NSW.