Dog breeder Ann Clarkson with Whitney and Xena
Dog breeder Ann Clarkson with Whitney and Xena Rob Williams

New laws dog owners and breeders need to know

ETHICIAL dog breeders like local German Shepherd enthusiast Ann Clarkson will have nothing to fear under new mandatory breeding guidelines aimed at raising welfare standards for dogs and puppies.

The German Shepherd breeder has been producing puppies for 15 years and said good breeders would always seek to exceed the minimum standards.

"I breed at home, my dogs live in the house and the puppies live in the bedroom until they go to their new homes," she said.

The comprehensive new guidelines require owners to ensure bitches are physically mature and healthy before each litter, and for puppies to be properly weaned and socialised prior to re-homing.

RSPCA Queensland spokesperson Michael Beatty said the organisation hoped the laws would provide more clarity for breeders but added consumers should remain alert when looking to adopt a pet.

"It remains important, for people who decide they want to get a puppy to make sure they never buy a puppy without seeing how they were bred and how the mother and father are living," he said.

Breeders who fail to meet the standards face investigation and fines.

Currently, the maximum penalty for an individual convicted of a breach of duty of care is $39,165 or one year in prison.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the new mandatory standards would ensure breeders are doing the right thing.

"The new laws recognise that breeding dogs have specific needs and require specialised care," he said

"They also set minimum standards for care, shelter, socialisation and breeding, and will apply to all dog breeders including those breeding pets, working dogs, hunting dogs or for commercial purposes."

"Those who are already meeting their duty of care obligations under the Animal Care and Protection Act should not be significantly affected by the new standards."

Biosecurity Queensland has confirmed that there will be no new resources allocated for auditing the industry or enforcing the new standards, with complaints from the public remaining the primary form of compliance ensurance.

A Biosecurity Queensland spokesperson said the department had "partnered with Dogs Queensland and the RSPCA to undertake a wide-reaching public education campaign via the via media, social media, paid advertising, and veterinary publications, including the AVA, to promote the new standards."

Complaints about dog breeders who are failing to meet the mandatory standards can be made to DAF on 13 25 23 or the RSPCA on 1300 264 625.