DOGGY DILEMMA: Dog breeder's future up in arms
SOMETHING has gone astray, according to kelpie breeder Mandy Sansom.
She says changes to breeding standards in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, drafted by the NSW Department of Industry, are going to make it almost impossible for breeders like herself to stay in business and easier for commercial farms to produce litters.
"They were trying to stop puppy farmers and backyard breeders, but what they have written now, basically the only people who would be able to breed are huge commercial farms," Mrs Sansom said.
For 20 years, Mrs Sansom has been breeding kelpies, which she now sends to dog lovers all over the world.
"I keep in contact with all the dogs I've bred, even if they are all around the world," she said.
She said the feedback about her dogs and getting to keep in contact with the families who bought from her made her job worth it, but that could all change.
The proposed breeding standards, which also impacts cat breeders, would see dogs housed individually, with almost no contact with other dogs, making it almost impossible for breeders like Mrs Sandom to stay operational.
"Can you imagine how nuts my dogs would go if they were housed individually," she said. "They need to be able to socialise with other dogs.
"One of the other rulings is they're not allowed to be kept in your house, and they're not even allowed to be kept in something attached to your house, so imagine raising puppies."
Mrs Sansom has a purpose-built kennel and a shed that has been converted into another kennel on her property on the Summerland Way.
"(They don't meet) the new requirements," she said. "I'd have to have all my dogs that are being used for breeding, including baby dogs that have just been born, up in (the kennel) and it still wouldn't meet requirements because they can see each other because they have wire between them.
"How on earth could you raise a family pet with it being born and raised in a cubicle, so it will mean the end of breeders like me or any breeder, because even if you have one litter, you're a breeder."
Even if Mrs Sansom was to upgrade her facilities, it would cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars just to be up to standards.
"I could potentially meet the requirements, but I wouldn't want to. I wouldn't want my dogs to be having puppies up in the kennels and not in the house," she said. "Where are people going to get their puppies from? They're going to have to get them from these huge farms raising puppies in these little cubicles not having any access to other dogs, not learning about vacuum cleaners, washing machines, TVs."
Mrs Sansom said controls need to be there to stop backyard breeders, but the changes should be relaxed to allow breeders like herself to stay in business.