A horror pet breeding operation where dogs were left to suffer in their own filth will be able to keep no more than 105 dogs, sparking outrage from an MP.
A NSW MP has called for stronger penalties for pet abusers after a father-and-daughter dog breeding duo received $20,000 in fines for animal cruelty.
Court records show the northern NSW dog breeders were sentenced on May 2 for a total of 18 offences.
The man was fined a total of $16,700 for failing to provide vet treatment, animal cruelty, and failing to comply with requirements, while the woman was fined for $4200 for the latter offence and possession of a non-prescribed electrical device.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it raided the pair’s breeding operation in September 2020, checking on the health of 441 dogs, including 250 puppies.
Inspectors rescued 21 adult dogs and 41 puppies from conditions they said were “heartbreaking”.
The RSPCA said the pair kept dogs on wet concrete floors in indoor kennel blocks.
“Veterinarians concluded that the animals were suffering from a range of health issues including ear infections, severe dental disease, intestinal worms, poor body condition, conjunctivitis, matted coats, wounds and urine scalding,” the RSPCA said in a statement.
“Written directions were issued to the defendants to seek veterinary treatment for another 32 of the dogs within 2-4 weeks.”
Magistrate Holly Kemp at Inverell Local Court ordered the pair not to keep more than 80 female breeding dogs and 25 stud dogs.
The breeders were also ordered to pay the RSPCA $150,000 between them for the cost of caring for some of the animals.
At a parliamentary hearing on Monday, Animal Justice Party Emma Hurst pointed out the state’s laws wouldn’t prevent the pair from continuing to breed dogs.
Ms Hurst has been campaigning for stronger regulations for breeders, and says her proposed Companion Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms) Bill would help curb the problem.
“We have a situation where these people are able to continue to run a facility with 100 dogs – how can that mean the NSW government’s legislation is working; how is that good enforcement?” Ms Hurst asked.
Department of Primary Industries deputy director Tara Black responded: “The DPI’s role is to administer the legislation, and we do have significant penalties available in the law, for the courts and enforcement agencies to apply in a specific case that might be appropriate.”
In comments made after the hearing, Ms Hurst said it was “shocking” that people convicted for animal cruelty would still be allowed to breed pets.
“Our laws are clearly failing companion animals in this state,” she said.
“The committee heard that many breeders in NSW have been found guilty of animal cruelty and are still being allowed to run puppy farms.
“Laws to protect animals from known animal abusers must be introduced immediately to stop more cases like this occurring, and puppy farming must be outlawed.”
Ms Hurst’s Bill has met some opposition from breeders and lobby groups, who argue it would hamstring legitimate breeders while failing to stop illegal businesses.