Chiefly intervention on behalf of the pet stores

johnboy 20 December 2010 21

Jon Stanhope has, after a long think, come out swinging against proposed Greens animal welfare legislation.

It’s a rare day an ACT politician publicly goes against the wishes of the RSPCA, but he makes some good points:

“Greens legislation tabled in the Assembly last week directly targets ACT pet shops in, an industry that is responsible for only 14% of pet sales and is already one of the most accountable and closely regulated sectors in the Territory,” Mr Stanhope said.

“The Greens’ proposal would create laws where dogs and cats for sale can only be sourced from animal shelters and must be removed from shops each night.

“Banning the shop sale of pets from reputable breeders would lead to a surge in the number of animals purchased through the internet, at markets and over the back fence. These are the channels where it is most difficult to monitor breeding and keeping conditions; to track, chip and desex animals; and to ensure appropriate advice on care and pet-owners obligations is provided. It is also the most difficult area to ensure customers can come back to the supplier if there are issue after sale or if they require advice.

“A permit is already required to keep a domestic pet entire to allow it to breed in the ACT. The Greens’ proposal to create mandatory breeding licences is already in development in the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and is being developed with a mind to ensuring such a licence would not result in increases to the illegal breeding of animals.

“The Greens’ proposal will have unintended consequences if introduced as proposed. The Animal Welfare Act is intended to be a general document that protects the welfare of all animals. Regulations and codes of practice operate under the Act which provide for the welfare of different types of animals. By seeking to legislate in detail for specific animals within the Act itself the Green’s Bill effectively dilutes the broad protection the Act offers.


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21 Responses to Chiefly intervention on behalf of the pet stores
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JustThinking JustThinking 2:11 pm 25 Dec 10

I think it is the public in general that has to research and become better “educated”
People who show you their “purbred” crossbred pup,,trying to explain to you how they bought it purbred from the petshop!!!!!????!!!!
If it looks cute and you give it a fancy name…sell it for a couple hundred bucks!

Atleast make sure the petshops are buying/selling pups from registered/legitimate breeders/owners and not from BYB who pump them out from poor neglected breeding machines.

Hard I know..but it has to start somewhere.
OR atleast make sure petshop owners and staff are educated in what they are selling and the laws that are in place.

CHW CHW 6:27 pm 21 Dec 10

Hum… well, off the top of my head…

Since prehistory, humans and dogs have co-existed in a symbiosis – there is substantial archeological evidence that humans and dogs in partnership out-performed stronger, sensorily-superior (heh – that is a bit clumsy, but kind-of makes the sense I want) Neanderthals.

The distinct differences in the different breeds are due to humans perpetuating mutations on the original wolf/jackal/primitive dog phenotype.

Some mutations were continued because they increased hunting success: eg Afghan Hounds and Salukis, which are not only capable of very high speeds when chasing prey, but are also able to double around and jink at high speeds – so their deeper chests and longer legs, heads, and backs were maintained by the emerging civilizations in the Middle Eastern regions.

Some mutations were continued because supporting them accrued status to their owners: eg Pekinese and Pug-type dogs are chrondodysplastic dwarfs, not really the best form for a meat animal, as dogs were in Neolithic Chinese cultures. However, as these cultures developed proto-aristocracies, individuals demonstrated status by maintaining unusual, non-functional dogs.

It is undeniable that contemporary dogs have a role in modern society as companions and assistants. It is convenient that purebred dogs, with their differing forms, have been tailored for a huge range of functions.

Their breed characteristics, and the temperaments peculiar to the distinct breeds, make selecting a particular breed for a particular situation relatively formulaic.

A family might want a soft-natured, short-haired, smaller dog that would still be able to cope with high exercise.

Australian Customs services might want a reliably steady, non-threatening dog with a superior sense of smell.

An independent but movement-impaired adult might want a calm, intelligent dog sturdy enough to provide assistance moving around at home.

Why re-invent the wheel? It certainly removes uncertainty from the equation if you have a dog that has generation upon generation of predictable, recorded genetics behind it.

Humans LIKE dogs. They like to share their lives with canine companions. Sourcing a pet dog from a reputable breeder is sensible, because such breeders confidently predict a puppies’ character: because they not only scrutinise the individual puppy from birth, but also had access to information on its predecessor’s temperaments back thirty or more generations.

Add this to a physiology that has evolved to satisfy a particular function, and you are far more likely to be completely satisfied with your family dog, or your sniffer dog, or your assistance dog.

Keeping the distinct breeds differentiated necessitates a description, down to the detailed particulars, of each breed’s characteristics. This is the breed standard – which guides breeders in maintaining their breed’s specific appearance.

Form follows function… a dog whose structure is ‘sound’ is a dog whose knee-joints, hips, elbows, and spine do not break down. Dogs whose functions include athletic endeavours are built to perform those high-exercise requirements as efficiently as possible.

Finally, moderating the excesses of those who exaggerate breed characteristics in a misguided belief that to do so ‘improves breed type’ is on the agenda of a new ‘breed’ of contemporary purebred dog aficionado.

Meh. Might be tl;dr and I apologise: but you asked!

Ian Ian 5:10 pm 21 Dec 10

Better still, why not make people need a license to own pets and to pass a test and put have to put some effort into getting said license. That will weed out those who buy on impulse and those who genuinely want a pet.

Hey, lets do the same for children, too.

Felix Felix 4:58 pm 21 Dec 10

I can’t see what’s actually meant to be WRONG with the original Greens’ legislation and quite what Stanhope thinks he’s achieveing…

longshanks longshanks 2:15 pm 21 Dec 10

@ CHW:

Fully agree that puppies are better off staying in home care than being dumped in pet shops. Also fully agree with your point about Pedigree Dogs Exposed being designed to evoke an emotive response.

I guess my beef is with the whole concept of breed standards. Things are improving, but let’s not forget that ‘breed standards’ have in the past dictated actions such as tail lopping and ear cutting, not to mention the outright killing of defective puppies. For example, the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the UK has a Code of Ethics which used to state (prior to the BBC doco): “Ridgeless puppies shall be culled”. I realise that this has now changed, but to be fair to the Ridgeback club, it is a logical extension of the emphasis and value placed on the arbitrary physical characteristics which form the ‘Breed standard’.

My question is this – exactly how does a strict adherence to Breed Standards improve a dog’s quality of life? Off the cuff I can probably think of at least half a dozen ways in which it can be shown to have a negative impact, but as part of doing my homework, I’m certainly open to being shown the other side of the coin, so to speak.

Revolting Peasant Revolting Peasant 2:05 pm 21 Dec 10

Most of the animals sold in pet shops (puppies, rabbits, kittens, guinea pigs) come from farms where these animals are bred to mothers kept in cages for years with little or no exercise. And designer breeds should be outlawed regardless of where the come from. I’m sick of animials being treated like disposable commodities and I welcome the Greens proposals.

CHW CHW 1:23 pm 21 Dec 10

@ longshanks:

Yes, some breeders of purebreed dogs are responsible for perpetuating exaggerated phenotypes that impair quality of life. This is absolutely no excuse for purebred dogs to be driven to extinction, or for puppies to be bought solely from petshops or rescues and shelters.

In its intent, the Pedigree Dogs Exposed program was calculated to evoke an emotive response. Granted, it certainly succeeded in drawing attention to the need for purebreed dogs to return to the original, moderate forms that are far more sensible.

However, the syringio-myelia in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels pictured as being solely the result of inbreeding – and of being due to a brain being too large for the skullcase – is in fact not yet adequately explained to the scientific communities’ satisfaction.

There are questions relating to the fact that Australian Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are
in no way affected to any significant degree by SM. Too, there now are questions relating to the possibility that other factors – such as nutrition, injury, or a combination of these – may in fact be responsible for SM.

Certainly, you can expect to have more confidence in your purebred pet dog’s chances of NOT developing any inherited diseases or disorders when you purchase from a reputable registered breeder.

Far more confidence than in one bought from a pet shop, a retailer of dogs, or a breeder who does not screen or test their breeding animals.

Indeed, contemporary purebred dogs have a genetic heritage that is far more thoroughly studied than at any phase in the past.

Reputable dog breeders are those who show in order to maintain their adherence to the breed standard. As in all hobbies and competitive sports you get those who are focussed on winning at all costs. This is not a balanced outlook, and not an attitude regarded with any great enthusiasm by the saner dog breeders.

As in any debate, it pays to regard the more emotional claims with a degree of caution – and to do your homework and make up your own mind.

carnardly carnardly 12:17 pm 21 Dec 10

Did she pay $1200 for the jug too?

yoyo23 yoyo23 10:07 am 21 Dec 10

The breeder of my dogs says she only sells to about 60% of the people who want one as the rest don’t pass the interview. That’s fantastic and I fully support her. Would a pet shop ever do that? No way! but even if you removed the puppies from there, people would just go to allclassifieds to do their purchasing of backyard bred dogs.

A lady at my workplace bought a “jug” from a pet shop to “rescue it”. I don’t know how she can justify that to herself but I guess she can sleep at night with what she has done.

Belles Belles 9:26 am 21 Dec 10

“While I dont think that pet shops should have such strict conditions, it wouldnt hurt to have some safeguards, but I also think if someone wishes to give an animal a good home, these groups shouldnt be trying to make them jump through so many hoops that they go elsewhere.”

The reason that “these groups”, foster groups and the RSPCA, make you “jump through hoops” or interview you, do a house check and see how the animal reacts to you are very simple, the animal has been abondoned/misstreated once and ended up dumped at the RSPCA/Pound, found by the pound.

I assist as a carer with a foster group and I know from my personal experience I am not going to hand the animals over to anybody, I need to know that the animal will have a safe and loving home and that no more bad things will happen to the animal. Is it fair on the animal to have to get to know his/her new family and then find out that they are not going to be treated correctly. Simple things as high fences for dogs that can jump may sound unreasonable, but when that dog jumps the fence and gets out where is it going to end up??? Back at the pound/RSPCA and if its not collected by the owner it goes through the process again, how many times does an animal need to go through the rehoming process? This causes issues with the animals. The reason groups do this is because they/we care. I am not going to hand over any of the animals that I care for without the knowledge that the new owners will do everything possible to give these animals a good home.

For example: I am looking after a working dog (blue healer) and met a couple who couldn’t commit to walking and exercising him. Being a working breed of dog he will go bonkers without exercise and will rip the place to part, especially with little company. Yes it was lovely that he could spend time with the person while they sat on the couch but that doesn’t constitute the exercise the dog needs to get.

That sort of scrunity is not applied in pet shops, so I am sure they could go buy a puppy from one and it would never get a walk, but how good is that for the dog??

carnardly carnardly 9:11 am 21 Dec 10

yup – i’m the same – gullible stupid people who impulse buy a “Jug” ie the “new breed” cross between a JR and a pug… good lord.

JessicaNumber JessicaNumber 6:23 pm 20 Dec 10

Stanhope just wants a source of cheap puppies for his dinner!

longshanks longshanks 6:15 pm 20 Dec 10

“Registered breeders invest in kennel club memberships, breed club memberships, in training seminars and breed journal subscriptions. They travel frequently to dog shows, in which they have paid to enter their animals, in order to submit their breeding programs to the scrutiny of judges and peers.”

Would these be the same kennel clubs, dog shows and breeding programs that have selectively inbred generations of animals, to emphasise arbitrarily chosen characteristics, with no regard for functional morphology? Anyone else see the BBC doco ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’, with footage of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel whimpering in agony as a result of its brain being too large for its skull? But that’s OK isn’t it – after all, it’s a small price to pay to get that blue ribbon at the (reputable) dog show.

deezagood deezagood 5:46 pm 20 Dec 10

If you had seen the mental state (and heard the pitiful cries) of small puppies locked in glass cages for days/weeks on end, often at night when there is no human company – sometimes for entire weekends … you may feel differently about this issue. I challenge Mr Stanhope to attend a mall-based pet shop after dark and remain committed to his policy intervention.

Pet shops selling designer puppies are unhumane and they pray on the cuteness/pity factor to inspire the spontaneous/unplanned/unwitting sale of overpriced puppies. At least families seeking puppies from breeders (even backyad breeders) have an initial intent to buy an animal. Another poorly formed intervention by Stanhopeless.

CHW CHW 5:10 pm 20 Dec 10

Erm… sorry, but reputable breeders do NOT place puppies in pet shops. Their code of ethics says they are NOT allowed to place puppies with either pet retailers or wholesalers.

Reputable breeders keep puppies at home with their family, until the pups are mentally, emotionally and physically ready to go to a new home.

Because: family dogs are brought up in family homes.

Responsible, reputable, registered breeders put their heart and soul into maintaining, and improving, their chosen breed: they do NOT have making a profit as their motivation.

For reputable, ethical breeders, occasionally breeding a litter of puppies is a vocation upon which they lavish their resources; especially now, when the majority of Australian registered breeders are testing their animals for relevant genetic disorders, and are screening their animals for physical soundness, before using them in their breeding programs.

Registered breeders invest in kennel club memberships, breed club memberships, in training seminars and breed journal subscriptions. They travel frequently to dog shows, in which they have paid to enter their animals, in order to submit their breeding programs to the scrutiny of judges and peers.

The registered breeders who are committed to the ethical propagation of the best genetic material, raised in the optimal conditions for mental balance as well as bodily soundness, do not place (dump) their precious puppies with pet shops.

Instead, they seek families that are the best match for each pup’s personality; ethical and responsible breeders have been assessing each pup since birth, and are usually able to recommend a pet suited to each families’ circumstances and expectations.

luther_bendross luther_bendross 3:44 pm 20 Dec 10

Pet shops will gain my support when they stop selling “purebred cavoodles” and the like.

Swaggie Swaggie 3:44 pm 20 Dec 10

Christmas has come early….Stanhope using COMMON SENSE *faints*
Typical ‘Green’ Policy Crap though – hard not to pick holes in this.

dvaey dvaey 3:34 pm 20 Dec 10

Its a rare day Stanhope makes a valid argument but i agree with him. Why now just police pet stores better. Better still, why not make people need a license to own pets and to pass a test and put have to put some effort into getting said license. That will weed out those who buy on impulse and those who genuinely want a pet.

You mean, what the shelters do and the pet shops dont? Have you ever tried to get a dog from the RSPCA lately? We tried several years ago, after our previous dog died at the age of 14. After 2 interviews and a house inspection, they refused to give a dog unless we increased the height of our fence. The couple down the road whos dog had pups, werent as fussy.

While I dont think that pet shops should have such strict conditions, it wouldnt hurt to have some safeguards, but I also think if someone wishes to give an animal a good home, these groups shouldnt be trying to make them jump through so many hoops that they go elsewhere.

Mysteryman Mysteryman 3:29 pm 20 Dec 10

Well, he got a least one right in 9 years.

watto23 watto23 2:51 pm 20 Dec 10

I generally agree with a lot of greens ideas to some extent, but this one is poorly executed and driven by the more extreme greens supporters i think.

Its a rare day Stanhope makes a valid argument but i agree with him. Why now just police pet stores better. Better still, why not make people need a license to own pets and to pass a test and put have to put some effort into getting said license. That will weed out those who buy on impulse and those who genuinely want a pet.

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