carry out their raids with military-style precision in the dead of night.
are Victorian puppy farms breeding thousands of dogs in what the raiders
claim are usually atrocious conditions.
by veteran activist Debra Tranter, Animal Liberation Victoria's rescue team
has been illegally raiding properties for years trying to save dogs from
lives of misery locked in cages. Ms Tranter has welcomed a new campaign
by the RSPCA, as revealed in last week's Sunday Age, that targets puppy
farms. In her
blog on the Prisoners For Profit (Puppy Breeding Factories, The Truth Behind
The Pet Shop Window) website, Ms Tranter said the campaign needed widespread
RSPCA's] ability to reach the public and educate them is huge and will make
all the difference to the forgotten dogs hidden in puppy factories,'' she
battle has never been easy. Many times I have came home from a puppy factory
and have found myself uncontrollably sobbing wondering what the hell I am
going to do next to try to get these dogs some help, a vet, water, a blanket,
freedom, a home. It's a terrible feeling of hopelessness that … drives
you to keep doing something, anything, because the dogs' suffering …
is so intense and relentless how can you not try everything?''
this month a Beremboke couple, Les and Melinda Paxton, was ordered to pay
Moorabool Council more than $6600 in legal costs following a four-month
investigation into a puppy farm on their property west of Melbourne.
a raid in February, Ms Tranter and Animal Liberation Victoria found more
than 50 dogs housed in squalid conditions on the Paxtons' farm, including
puppies chained to cars.
council shut the farm and took the Paxtons to the Victorian Civil and Administrative
Tribunal, which banned them from keeping more than five dogs. In June, Ms
Tranter and the group carried out a late-night raid on a farm at Meredith,
where dogs were being kept in filthy, freezing conditions inside a shed.
About 20 volunteers later took beds, blankets, dog coats, toys and bags
of dog food to the farm and spent three hours scrubbing the shed where the
dogs lived. Ms
Tranter said the owner was grateful and gave the group 11 dogs that were
in need of veterinary care.
farm owner who has not been so happy to see Ms Tranter and her rescue team
is Matt Hams, one of the owners of Banksia Park Puppies, a family-run Gippsland
business that breeds dogs for commercial sale.
claimed that bitches and their puppies were being held in pens with electric
fencing designed to shock them if they tried to escape. ''Dogs are no longer
deemed companions, they are 'primary producers' and kept the same way we
keep cattle or battery hens,'' she said.
said Banksia Park was one of dozens of Gippsland puppy farms violating the
mandatory code of practice for breeding and rearing establishments. Wellington
Shire Council spokeswoman Gaye Davies denied the claim, saying any illegal
practices would be detected during the council's unannounced inspections.
said Ms Tranter had been unfairly targeting his family's business in the
past because it was one of the biggest dog breeders in the state. He said
the electric wire was used to stop the dogs from digging or trying to climb
the fences and had been found by the RSPCA not to be cruel. He said the
wire did not breach any laws.
just a business that some people disagree with, it's as simple as that,''
allegedly knocked Mr Hams over with her car during a late-night raid on
the farm in 2008. Charges of assault with a weapon and reckless conduct
endangering life were dismissed after a magistrate found it impossible to
rule if Ms Tranter meant to deliberately drive into Mr Hams.
43, pleaded guilty to trespassing and received a two-year good behaviour
bond without conviction after agreeing to stay away from the farm, formally
known as ACA Breeders.
illegal in Victoria to breed dogs for profit unless the breeder is registered
with the local council as a domestic animal business or is a member of an
organisation with a breeding code of ethics approved by the minister for
agriculture. There are currently 70 registered domestic animal breeding
businesses in Victoria.