Stop Puppy Farming

Dogs are an important part of many Western Australian families and promoting responsible dog ownership and the future health and welfare of dogs is a key priority for the State Government.

The State Government has made a commitment to stop puppy farming and regulate the breeding and sale of dogs in WA.  

Puppy farming is defined as an intensive dog breeding facility that is operated under inadequate conditions that fail to meet the dogs' behavioural, social and/or physiological needs. Puppy farming can include small-scale, as well as large-scale dog breeding operations. 

Puppy farming can lead to extensive long-term health and behavioural issues in dogs.  

The Government has proposed to introduce the following provisions to stop puppy farming: 

  • introduce mandatory dog de-sexing for non-breeding dogs
  • introduce a centralised registration system to ensure every dog and puppy can be identified and traced 
  • introduce mandatory standards for dog breeding, housing, husbandry, transport and sale
  • transition pet shops into adoption centres.  

The proposals intend to contribute to a more regulated breeding industry and a reduction in the number of dogs needing rehoming and suffering neglect due to puppy farms.

Consultation

The department, in partnership with the local government sector and industry stakeholders, released a consultation paper on the proposals in May 2018.

The department undertook consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and held community workshops across Western Australia.

Consultation on the proposals closed in August 2018.

The department received 4754 submissions from dog owners, dog breeders, dog trainers, local governments, pet shops, and rescue organisations.  

The summary consultation report and consultation report provide information on the overall feedback heard during feedback. 

Online survey submissions

Community members and stakeholders were invited to provide their feedback by responding to an online survey, or undertaking an interview survey at the RSPCA Million Paws Walk 2018 and/ or the WA Local Government Association Convention 2018. 

3,944 submissions were received in this form.   

The results of the feedback from the online survey and interview surveys have been compiled into the Stop Puppy Farming Community Consultation Report​. 

Share  

Share the message and encourage others to get involved by following the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries on Facebook and sharing our social media videos and posts. 

Standards and guidelines for the health and welfare of dogs in WA

As part of the McGowan Government’s Stop Puppy Farming initiative, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is developing standards and guidelines for dog breeding, housing, husbandry, transport and sale.

More information about the standards and guidelines can be found on DPIRD’s website.

Stop pupp farming: adopt don't shop

Adopt Don't Shop 

Western Australians are being urged to 'Adopt Don't Shop' and give rescued dogs a second chance by adopting a new household pet.

It is estimated that between 4000-5000 dogs are rehomed each year by rehoming organisations and local government pounds.

By adopting a dog, Western Australians can help to reduce the burden on these organisations and ensure a better life for our companion animals.

Currently, the Government provides annual funding to various animal rescue and shelter organisations to support the rescue and re-homing of dogs.

For more information on where you can adopt a pet, contact:

Dogs' Refuge Home WA, Shenton Park

Website dogshome.org.au
Telephone 61 8 9381 8166

RSPCA WA, Malaga  

Website rspcawa.asn.au
Website adoptapet.com.au
Telephone 61 8 9209 9300

Animal Protection Society, Southern River

Website apswa.asn.au
Telephone 61 8 9398 6616
Email info@apswa.asn.au

Swan Animal Haven, Wattle Grove

Website swananimalhaven.asn.au
Telephone 61 8 9293 2047
Telephone 0498 235 680

K9 Rescue Group, Nambeelup

Website k9dogrescue.org.au
Telephone 61 8 9581 9005

SAFE Animal Shelters, WA-wide

Website safe.org.au
For contact details of a relevant branch, visit their website

Related resources

Centralised Registration System

The McGowan Government has made a commitment to introduce a centralised registration system to track all dogs in Western Australia.

Dog registrations

Currently, all owners of dogs aged three months or older must register their dog with their local government. Every local government in WA maintains their own record of dogs registered in their district. There are 137 local governments in WA, so this makes it extremely difficult to keep track of all dogs and owners. Under this proposal, existing local government dog registers will be transitioned and absorbed into the centralised registration system, and dog owners can register, and update details on their dog/s on the system. Upon registering their dog on the system, each owner will be issued with a ‘dog owner number’ that is unique to the owner.

Dog breeder registration 

Further to the registration of the dog, anyone who has a dog that breeds or is intended to breed, will be required to register to as a dog breeder on the centralised system.

A dog’s breeder will be required to record their details and ‘dog owner number’ alongside the microchip details of a dog they have bred. This ensures the traceability of dogs and if necessary, the ability to track a dog back to irresponsible breeders. Any breaches of laws governing dogs could result in breeding operations being shut down by authorities and dog breeder registration being cancelled.

Transferring a dog

Clarifying and identifying where a dog has come from can ensure that any puppy farm supply chains can be identified and stopped. Under new provisions, any person who sells, gives away, transfers or advertises a dog will be required to provide their ‘dog owner number’ and the dog’s microchip number, regardless of whether they bred the dog or not. Both numbers will be required to be provided in any advertisement that advertises dogs or puppies for sale.

Transitioning Pet Shops to Adoption Centres

In order to reduce the population of unwanted dogs in WA, the McGowan Government is proposing to transition pet shops to adoption centres to help break the puppy farm supply chain and to address the unwanted dog problem.

Current situation

It is estimated that there are approximately 15 pet shops in WA that sell puppies and dogs. Currently, there are no restrictions on where pet shops can source the dogs they sell. While pet shops are subject to Australian Consumer Law, purchasing a dog from a pet shop means that the consumer is unable to trace, or know with any certainty, from where the dog was sourced.

Transition of pet shops

The Government has made a commitment to amend the Dog Act 1976 to require pet shops to only source puppies from properly accredited rescue organisations and shelters. These dogs will be properly assessed for health and behaviour. This is expected to help break the puppy farm supply chain and to address the unwanted dog problem.

It is anticipated that a greater number of surrendered or abandoned dogs will be rehomed, meaning less dogs needing to be euthanised or kept permanently/long term at dog rescue organisations. Puppy farmers will also not be able to profit by selling puppies to pet shops.

Mandatory De-Sexing for Non-Breeding Dogs

In order to reduce the population of unwanted dogs in WA, the McGowan Government is proposing to introduce mandatory de-sexing for all dogs, unless that dog is to be used for breeding purposes or is exempt because of health reasons. 

The Government intends to amend the Dog Act 1976, to require all dogs to be de-sexed by a specified age, unless an exemption applies. 

Reducing the population of unwanted dogs in WA  

In 2015-16:

  • More than 2,500 dogs were rehomed in WA by the RSPCA, Dogs Refuge Home WA Inc. and SAFE
  • More than 500 dogs were euthanised at dog rescue organisations, shelters and local governments.

Why should you de-sex your dog?

The primary objective of mandatory dog de-sexing is to stop indiscriminate dog breeding and reduce the number of unwanted or unplanned dogs being born, many of which end up neglected, abandoned or surrendered to dog rescue organisations.

Other benefits of de-sexing for the health and welfare of dogs include:

  • increased longevity
  • reduced risk of cancer and other diseases affecting the reproductive organs
  • prevention of pregnancies in female dogs, which can cause exhaustion and other medical issues.

Exemptions

Dogs intended to be used for breeding purposes will be exempt from de-sexing. Dog breeders will be required to register as a dog breeder in order for their dog to be exempt. Additionally, exemptions will be granted to dogs if de-sexing will have a negative impact on their health or development.

Written submissions

In addition to the online survey and interview surveys, community members and stakeholders were also invited to respond to the consultation in various written forms, including by completing a public submission form, responding to supplementary targeted surveys, or providing other written feedback. 810 submissions were received in these forms.

The written submissions can be downloaded below. Many respondents indicated that they would like their submission to remain confidential and these submissions have not been published.

Page reviewed 06 May 2019