Wimmera puppy farms, breeders face tougher laws

Oscar's Law extracted 28 dogs from an alleged small puppy farm near Horsham last year.

Oscar's Law extracted 28 dogs from an alleged small puppy farm near Horsham last year.

COUNCILS could have stronger powers to force illegal cat and dog breeders out of business under proposed legislation.

Horsham Rural City economic and planning director Tony Bawden said council would welcome stronger powers to crack down on businesses doing the wrong thing.

Council came under fire last year for its handling of a registered puppy breeding property at Jung.

More than 30 dogs were extracted in response to intervention by dog welfare group Oscar’s Law.

Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh introduced an amendment to the Domestic Animals Act to parliament on Wednesday.

Mr Walsh said councils would be able to close any domestic animal business registered to a person convicted of animal cruelty in the past decade.

Mr Bawden said council’s local laws co-ordinator prepared an annual report on each of the municipality’s domestic animal businesses to ensure standards were met.

“Those visits are scheduled for about this time of year,” he said.

He said the Jung breeder was no longer in business.

“They don’t have a licence anymore,” he said.

“There haven’t been any issues re-emerge out of that.”

Under the amendment councils will also be able to refuse new registrations.

The amendment will ban people with animal cruelty convictions from owning, managing or registering a domestic animal business for 10 years.

It will apply retrospectively to any person convicted of animal cruelty in the past decade and will apply to orders made under both Victorian and other state and territory animal cruelty laws. 

The State Government has also authorised greater powers for the RSPCA.

The powers, which came into effect on Wednesday, will help welfare officers raid and close cruel and illegal breeding operations.

“Together with local councils, RSPCA authorised officers play an important role in enforcing Victoria’s animal cruelty laws,” Mr Walsh said.

“It is important they have all the powers they need to take strong and swift action when the welfare and safety of vulnerable animals is at risk.”

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