- mandatory dog de-sexing;
- dog breeder registration;
- a centralised dog registration system to track dogs; and
- the transition of pet shops into adoption centres.
The Bill progresses amendments to the Dog Act 1976 as part of the State Government’s commitment to stop puppy farming by regulating the breeding and sale of dogs in Western Australia.
The State Government received 4754 submissions from dog owners, dog breeders, local governments, rangers and pet rescue organisations following consultation in 2018, with Western Australians showing overwhelming support for the proposed reforms.
Puppy farming and indiscriminate dog breeding
Puppy farming leads to extensive long-term health and behavioural issues in dogs; both for the puppies that are bred, and the dogs used to breed.
Local governments must often seize, impound or dispose of irresponsibly bred dogs at their own expense.
The proposed initiatives will contribute to a more regulated breeding industry and a reduction in the number of dogs needing rehoming and suffering neglect due to puppy farms. The intent of these provisions is to ensure local government authorities have the tools to deal with irresponsible dog breeders.
Further information for local governments on the proposed initiatives is available in the fact sheet Stop Puppy Farming — Information for Local Governments (PDF 247 KB).
These changes will not increase costs for local governments and may result in savings. Registration fees will be reviewed to cover the ongoing costs of the centralised registration system, with new fees for approvals to breed or supply dogs through a pet shop.
The Bill also removes the muzzling requirements for pet or retired racing greyhounds when in public places.
Racing greyhounds registered with Racing and Wagering Western Australia will continue to be required to wear muzzles in all public places by application of the Greyhound Rules of Racing.
All greyhounds will still be required to be on a leash in a public place.
The provision removing the requirement for greyhounds to be muzzled will come into effect when the Bill is assented to by the Governor.
The other provisions that aim to prevent and stop puppy farming will come into effect once the centralised registration system is operational.
Procurement of the centralised database will occur this year, with transfer of data in 2021.
You can follow the passage of the Dog Act Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2020 by registering on the Parliament House website.
A public awareness campaign will be launched once the Bill has passed through Parliament to inform the community on what the provisions mean for dog owners and dog breeders.
The department will provide local governments with further advice as the Bill progresses through Parliament, particularly in relation to the development of the centralised registration system.
For further information, please contact the Strategic Initiatives team via email at email@example.com.
Duncan Ord OAM
24 February 2020