Campaigners fear thousands of Australians have unknowingly supported a cruel industry which produces designer dogs on mass, as families rushed to buy a new puppy during coronavirus lockdown.
Puppy farms across New South Wales sell dogs online or to pet shops, with aninals kept in squalid conditions and forced to breed and produce litters until they can no longer cope.
Shocking footage secretly filmed at the farms, and provided to Daily Mail Australia, show dogs living in vile conditions and at the brink of death.
The industry in NSW is largely self-regulated, according to animals rights groups, with cruelty on a unimaginable scale.
Emma Hurst, a member of the legislative council for the Animal Justice Party, is working to expose the dark side of the animal industry.
Puppy farms in New South Wales sell pets online or to pet shops, and see dogs kept in squalid conditions and forced to breed (pictured, dogs kept at a puppy farm in NSW)
Emma Hurst (pictured), a member of the legislative council for the Animal Justice Party, is working to expose the dark side of the animal industry
There are an estimated 200 puppy farms in New South Wales – which is a legal business operation – which produce 103,000 puppies (pictured, a puppy farm)
Dogs in puppy farms are often kept in awful conditions where they have little access to food and water (pictured, an exhausted dog lies on a filthy floor)
There are an estimated 200 puppy farms in NSW – which is a legal business operation – producing 103,000 puppies annually.
‘Dogs are often living in filth, deprived of social interaction, and many suffer from illness and disease,’ Ms Hurst said.
‘We’ve seen numerous exposes of puppy farms in NSW where dogs have injuries, lack of food and water, and clearly haven’t been given any veterinary care.’
She said female dogs used for breeding often have a lifetime of behavioural issues, fear and stress.
Ms Hurst added that dogs are often kept in small, empty crates for most of their life without ever seeing the daylight.
Dogs in puppy farms may never leave and instead used to produce as many litters as possible (pictured, a pregnant dog found at a NSW puppy farm)
Ms Hurst added that dogs are often kept in small, empty crates for most of their life without ever seeing the daylight (pictured, one of the mums found)
There is no exact figures on how many puppy farms operate in New South Wales due to the little regulation in the industry (pictured, dogs kept in cages)
Ms Hurst said there have been cases where new puppies has been with deadly illnesses like bronchopneumonia or kennel cough, and suddenly stopped breathing
‘Most puppy farms are secretive and out of public view and are almost impossible for authorities to locate,’ she said.
‘There are likely thousands of dogs living in squalid conditions on these puppy farms, but because of secrecy of the industry and lack of proper regulation it’s impossible to know exactly how many there really are.’
There isn’t only the issue of where the pets are raised and the behavioural trauma it can cause, but puppies bred at the farms often suffer fatal health defects.
Ms Hurst said there have been cases where new puppies has been with deadly illnesses like bronchopneumonia or kennel cough, and suddenly stopped breathing.
Others have reported health issues such as hip dysplasia, ear infections, hernias and parvovirus – forcing their new owners to pay thousands in vet bills.
Others have reported health issues such as hip dysplasia, ear infections, hernias and parvovirus – forcing their new owners to pay thousands in vet bills
New South Wales has some of the weakest laws in the country when it comes to puppy farming (pictured, dogs kept in dark and filthy cages)
People convicted of animal cruelty have the ability to restart their puppy farming despite their crimes
WHAT ARE THE PUPPY FARM RULES IN EACH STATE
New South Wales
Puppy farms are legal in NSW. The code of practice when it comes to the sale of dogs aren’t linked to any legislation, meaning some can go years without inspection.
The industry in NSW is mainly self-regulated, according to animal rights groups, and there are no caps on dog numbers, and no caps on litter limits.
Victoria banned the sale of animals in pet shops unless they are from a registered shelter, rescue group or pound since July 1, 2018.
There is also a limit on how many litters and dog numbers in Victoria.
There is also an online register where people who want to sell an animal companion must register, which began on July 1, 2019.
Tasmania has similar circumstances to NSW.
There is legislation preventing there has to be a specific location on the business premises where dogs are killed.
They can’t be killed in front of other dogs or people.
There is a code of practice and breeder’s licence system in ACT, which was introduced in 2015.
However the sale of animals in pet shops is still allowed in the territory.
The sale of pets in pet shops and puppy farms are legal in NSW.
However, in May 2017 Queensland introduced a breeder ID system and anyone advertising a pet must include their ID in the advertisement.
There are no caps and limits on puppy farms in Queensland, and it is legal to kill dogs who are ‘no longer required’.
A code of practice was introduced in 2017, but it allows people to keep breeding dogs confined 23 hours and 30 minutes of the day.
It allows for the sale of animals in pet shops and allows puppy farms to kill their animals, as long as it isn’t by drowning.
Puppy factories and the sale of animals in pet shops is legal, however the McGowan Labor Government are drafting legislation that will be similar to Victoria’s.
Source: Oscar’s Law
New South Wales has some of the weakest laws in the country when it comes to puppy farming – with people convicted of animal cruelty allowed to continue operating their business, according to activists.
Ms Hurst said there is evidence of development applications from puppy farms owners in other states moving their operation to NSW due to the relaxed legislation.
‘We need urgent action in NSW to protect dogs and to make sure we don’t become the puppy farming hub of Australia,’ Ms Hurst said.
Ms Hurst said there is evidence of development applications from puppy farms owners in other states moving their operation to NSW due to the relaxed legislation
Ms Hurst told Daily Mail Australia that people should never buy a cat or dog online or from a pet shop
She said that pet shops almost always sell animals that have come from puppy farms as reputable breeders wouldn’t sell to them
ANIMAL JUSTICE PARTY’S MLC EMMA HURST REVEALS HOW TO AVOID PUPPY FARMERS
Ms Hurst told Daily Mail Australia that people should never buy a cat or dog online or from a pet shop.
She said that pet shops almost always sell animals that have come from puppy farms as reputable breeders wouldn’t sell to them.
‘If you can’t visit the house and meet the mother with her pups – assume the worst,’ she said.
She also said that puppy farmers will suggest meeting at the buyer’s home or an agreed location.
Ms Hurst said that is a red flag.
She also said online websites such as Gumtree are also used by puppy farmers as they can hide their practices from unknowing customers.
‘The best way to ensure your new companion is coming from a good place is to adopt rather than shop,’ she said.
‘We encourage anyone looking for a new family member to visit a rescue centre and save a life.’
Ms Hurst is working to bring in legislation that would hold people on puppy farms accountable for their actions
Dogs in puppy farms are kept in captivity in horrific cages so they can mass produce puppies for a commercial industry
She wants the legislation to – at the very least – match Victoria, where there is a limit of ten breeding dogs per breeder and each dog can only produce a maximum of five litters
Due to puppy farms not being connected to any legislation, some operations may not be inspected for years
There are also hopes on limiting the number of undesexed dogs, banning the sale of dogs online and in pet shops, registration requirements and mandatory vet checks
Ms Hurst is introducing legislation into the NSW parliament in the hopes of stopping the state becoming a hub for puppy farming.
She wants the legislation to – at the very least – match Victoria, where there is a limit of ten breeding dogs per breeder and each dog can only produce a maximum of five litters.
There are also hopes on limiting the number of undesexed dogs, banning the sale of dogs online and in pet shops, registration requirements and mandatory vet checks.
‘The people of NSW will never accept the industrialized factory farming of puppies – especially while thousands of healthy loving dogs are being killed in pounds because there aren’t enough loving homes,’ Ms Hurst said.
Western Australia is also working on bringing similar legislation to Victoria on puppy farms.
WHAT IS PUPPY FARMING?
Puppy farms are facilities where breeders continuously keep dogs pregnant and producing litters in order to meet the commercial demand of pet shops and the public.
Dogs are often left to live in horrible conditions, unable to spend time in the sun and left with severe health and behavioural issues.
‘Puppies from puppy farms may be sold via any avenue including the internet, newspaper ads, markets, car boot sales, pet shops, or sometimes at the puppy farm itself,’ the RSPCA states on their website.
‘Puppy farms may also use a house as a ‘shop front’ from which to sell their animals, so you don’t get to see the appalling conditions they breed dogs in.’
There is no way to tell how many puppy farms there are, particularly in NSW where the industry is mostly self-regulated, according to animal rights groups.
RSPCA Australia strongly opposes puppy farming, and advise people never to buy an animal without seeing it or where it came from.
The RSPCA have also created a guideline on how to sell pets online and what information people should ask for.
However, the body can only remove dogs if there is evidence of animal cruelty, the Animal Justice Party reported.
Both the RSPCA and the Animal Justice Party encourage people to adopt, not shop.