A dog’s best friend

NEW legislation is about to go before parliament to control the trading and welfare of dogs. Coincidentally, COLIN NICHOL had been looking around for a four-legged companion and discovered some disturbing facts about the canine breeding industry during his search. 

THERE’S a sad little story on a dog-selling website.

In part it says: “My best friend’s puppy was stolen on Sunday 9 February…” It was taken from their home. “There have been reports that an ad was placed for a quick sale (as they needed cash) for $550. If you or anyone you know has purchased this puppy or if you know where she is, please get in touch with me urgently on…”

It was a beautiful little black Chihuahua and such pets are valuable, but that’s only part of the story. A loved pet, a family member, has been snatched, probably to pay for drugs.

The word amongst dog owners is to never leave unwatched an attractive puppy or any small dog.

They’re too easily dog-napped. Shockingly in our oblivious world, there have been far worse tales.

In the light of recent revelations about horse and dog racing, it’s timely to look more deeply into another aspect of our close animal world – the dark side of the pet dog industry.

The state government’s proposed Dog Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2019 is long overdue.

RSPCA WA welcomed the reforms to prevent cruelty, neglect and dogs being abandoned and left to fend for themselves. There will also be more control over the iniquitous interstate trade.

The RSPCA urges “Adopt, don’t shop”, meaning don’t buy from backyard breeders in a car park or deceptive advertisers online.

Adopt from a rescue service but wherever you get it, always make sure you know as much as possible about its health, upbringing, behaviour and genetic inheritance before it becomes a member of your household.

Dog breeding is unregulated and anyone can breed as many puppies as they want.

Dams are whelped until exhausted, then sold. It’s a big earn earner.

Rescue and shelter organisations in WA take in approximately 3200 dogs each year.

A healthy “bitzer” from a registered refuge will bring more reward than one from a top level (read expensive) vanity pet dealer. Puppy love is a commodity.

About 35 per cent of us include dogs as part of our families. The opportunity to adopt will soon come closer to home with the licensing of local pet shops.

Medical insurance is recommended, although only about 7 per cent of dogs are currently covered.

Cost is the concern, surely a family policy can be created that includes pets.

Happens here

It happens here: dogs obtained for free, cheaply or stolen, may well be destined for dog baiting (don’t look that up) or fighting.

Also, dogs are bred for that and these covert horrors are difficult to discover.

Stories of dogs slaughtered for human consumption in other parts of the world are too horrific to repeat. But bringing it close to home in just one instance, the Bali Animal Welfare Association believes that every year up to 100,000 dogs, including their beautiful heritage ones, are slaughtered to be sold in dog meat restaurants.

Can’t happen here? It did.

Dogs have been our companions for 40,000 years. Does human-kind have a closer friend?

Still dogs, as all pets until now, have no legal status. After so long, shouldn’t we acknowledge their special place in our lives and care for them as loyally as they will protect us?

We need only look into a dog’s eyes to see the best in ourselves.

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