The MDBA is very much against an introduction of laws to enforce small breeders to have a Domestic Animal Business permit and have to comply with Breeding and Rearing Codes.
Calls to implement a necessity for people who own one fertile dog to have a DAB.
The MDBA is against the implementation of such a law which would make small breeders comply with the code of conduct for breeding and rearing establishments.
Some of our reasons are:
1. Breeding dogs is a lifestyle choice for most breeders
Most breeders have their dogs living as their companions in their family home and only occasionally having a litter of puppies.
The implementation of such a system will mean they will have to treat their companions and their family home differently. They will be faced with two unacceptable choices: One is to operate illegally and continue to breed and live with their companions as they have done in the past or to give up their privacy and freedom to live in their family home as they have done as they will be required to provide regulators access to their homes and suffer diminished privacy and free enjoyment of their property.
Losing those smaller breeders would seriously reduce the availability of healthy, properly socialized, well-bred dogs to Australian consumers, and endanger the existence of some of the rarer breeds.
2. Creating unsolvable enforcement problems
When implementing any Legislation it is important to have the means of enforcing and regulating the licensees. A licensing system such as the one proposed has many enforcement issues, not the least being: the number of enforcement officers available to enforce any new Legislation; their workload enforcing current laws and regulations and the creation of unintended consequences of any new Legislation, all of which would divert precious public resources and funds to the enactment and enforcement possibly at the expense of the enforcement and policing of other important animal welfare Legislation.
3. Reduction of the ability for agencies to concentrate their efforts on those facilities and people that present the greatest risk of noncompliance
It would undermine the ability to concentrate regulatory efforts on those facilities that present the greatest risk of noncompliance by expanding coverage to license and cover thousands of small, low-risk breeders.
4. The nature of breeders who will not comply.
It is the furtive nature of illegal breeding practices of large scale volume breeders who breed dogs in substandard conditions that make their detection so difficult; they are almost always located in rural areas with the animals kept in buildings out of sight of potential onlookers. This type of operator is never going to be led to licensing and compliance and they will simply devise tactics to enable them to continue on without detection ensuring they treat any licensing requirements as scoff laws. This will place a further burden on any agency that is responsible for locating those who are operating without a license with compliance and policing.
5. The high potential for Micro chipping and registration numbers to decrease
This system will increase the risk of breeders avoiding micro chipping and registration due to a fear of detection of breeding dogs without a breeder license.
The workload of local council animal control officers who have the responsibility of ensuring all dogs are compliant with local council laws and by-laws will dramatically increase.
6. Breeding licenses will discourage small breeders and advantage large scale commercial breeders
Breeding licenses will discourage small breeders and advantage large scale commercial breeders who have the financial capacity to pay license fees and build the infrastructure to comply with licensing requirements. Even with number limits per rate able property commercial breeders have a greater capacity to cope with this.
Additionally, as can be proven in any licensing system, only those who are already doing the right thing will comply.
7. Breeder licensing will not improve welfare
There is no research that indicates breeder licensing reduces impounds or euthanasia rates or that it improves the welfare of dogs in breeding establishments.
As an example, the Gold Coast Breeder Scheme has been discontinued as it did not achieve the result intended. It is important that public policy does not repeat the mistakes of the past and is shown to be developed using insight and analysis to ensure the prudent spending of public monies. Throughout the pilot study period people did not apply for licenses if they had a fertile dog and the only way rangers knew who they were was after a complaint – exactly as it had been prior to the laws being introduced.
If there is a lack of substantiated evidence that breeder licensing for all works, it would seem politically naïve to invest public monies to establish a system that has no guaranteed outcomes.
8. Without enforcement, legislation is a token gesture used to pacify interest groups
Arguably, if existing legislation was enforced, there would be no need for further legislation.
Existing legislation covers all aspects of animal welfare, management and control with the penalties for non-compliance. Animal cruelty is already a crime it is a criminal activity, the keeping of dogs in substandard conditions a breach of codes, selling puppies that are ill or not fit for purpose a breach of consumer law, selling puppies which can’t be identified is a breach of codes and not keeping appropriate records for breeding dogs and their offspring a breach of code. All of these breaches and criminal activities attract various penalties however the policing of the laws and codes are not being adequately enforced.
9. Puppies as contraband.
If a litter of puppies cannot legally be bred unless the person who bred the litter is licensed that effectively makes the resultant puppies from oops litters or from unlicensed people contraband with more puppies at risk of being killed or dumped.
10. Underestimation of breeder distrust of regulatory bodies.
Many breeders distrust current regulatory bodies and fear they have been infiltrated by radicals and they will be treated unfairly. Traditionally breeders have done everything they can to avoid coming under notice of such regulatory organisations and many believe that even if they do everything by the book that they may be threatened by having to give up their privacy to comply with licensing. Some breeders who comply with all regulations and laws now will stop complying in fear that on inspection a minor thing may cause them to lose their companions. Some will argue if they do it all right they have nothing to worry about but that doesn’t convince them. This is endemic in the breeding area and it is a very common belief system with the potential for this to impact on the success of such a plan should not be underestimated.
11. Many breeders will no longer allow puppy buyers to visit their properties.
Many breeders who currently welcome puppy buyers to their properties will no longer allow their clients to visit.
We strongly oppose any licensing of small, in-home breeders who have few breeding females. People who buy a puppy to bring into their family home, potentially with children living in it, need a well socialized puppy that is familiar with the hustle and bustle of family life.
Any license system that forces small breeders to give up their privacy and requires them to change the living and care standards for their dogs with ones designed for large commercial settings may be viewed by the community as wasteful especially when oversight from state and local authorities is already available at no extra cost to the tax payer.