LABOR leader Mark McGowan has declared he will crack down on illegal puppy farming in Western Australia if elected.
Illegal dog breeding businesses have resulted in a surge of the number of dogs needing to be re-homed – an increase of 62 per cent in the past five years according to animal protection groups.
Puppy farms are characterised by over-breeding, poor hygiene and inadequate care.
Mr McGowan said the practice of puppy farming was deeply concerning, and that stopping the practice would take time.
“The fact is the over-breeding of puppies and illegal puppy farms must be stopped,” Mr McGowan said.
“I recognise there is no quick fix to stop the practice of illegal puppy farming, but we have set out a clear plan to protect the health and wellbeing of our dogs.
“Every Western Australian will want to know that they are not supporting illegal puppy farms.”
Mr McGowan said he would appoint an advisory panel if elected, working towards a centralised registration system for every dog, compulsory sterilisation of dogs – unless an exemption is requested – and mandatory standards for breeding and sale.
RSPCA WA president Lynne Bradshaw said her organisation welcomed the pledge.
“Puppy farm operators are ruthless, they don’t care about the terrible impact their activities have on the puppies or the people involved,” she said.
“Right now, every single day, we deal with around 13 cases of cruelty and neglect involving dogs.
“When there is no longer an oversupply of dogs, dog ownership will be more sought after and appreciated, which is how it should be.
“RSPCA WA has been advocating for these changes for many years and it is absolutely the right time for Western Australia to be taking action.”