Target: Mark McGowan, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Australian Labor Party within the Legislative Assembly
Goal: Pass legislation to require mandatory registration for West Australian dog breeders
After several recent cases of extreme animal cruelty Mark McGowan, Leader of the Opposition in Australia’s Legislative Assembly, has called for the immediate creation of a dog breeder registry. If passed this new law would dramatically improve conditions for dogs at breeding operations in West Australia.
The push came after a woman, Katherine King, was found guilty of three counts of animal cruelty for holding more than a dozen dogs in an underground bunker at her property. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) eventually found 38 more dogs at the residence, most of which were malnourished and covered in mites and infections. King was fined $11,000 and has been banned from coming within 10 meters of an animal for the next five years.
Helping make this egregious act of cruelty possible is the fact that breeder registration is currently voluntary in Western Australia. Many puppy mills therefore go unregulated and unobserved. “The most important thing we have to remember is let’s stop it happening in the future with a proper registration system backed up by enforcement for puppy breeders to make sure the good ones are in the business and the bad ones are kicked out the back door,” said McGowan. “That is the only way we’ll drive the mistreatment of our dogs out of the system.”
The registry would require all dog breeding operations to prove their accreditation while allowing RSPCA investigators to monitor their activities and perform routine investigations to ensure animals’ safety and welfare. McGowan also informed the public that until a registry exists anyone buying a puppy from a breeder should demand to see the dog’s parents and look closely at the circumstances the dogs are being raised in. If something looks suspicious they should to report it to the RSPCA immediately.
In 2002 McGowan introduced the state’s second-largest petition to parliament, seeking to strengthen animal welfare laws, with over 66,000 signatures. The legislation eventually passed. Commend McGowan for his commitment to animal welfare, and urge him to ensure breeder registry legislation is signed into law.
Dear Mr. McGowan,
In your role as an elected official in West Australia you have championed animal welfare for more than a decade. In 2002 you successfully passed legislation to strengthen animal welfare laws; now you are pushing for a breeder registry that will dramatically improve conditions for dogs within breeding operations.
I strongly support this legislation and hope that soon the kind of cruelty witnessed in the Katherine King case will be a thing of the past. Thank you for all the work you have done to improve the lives of animals throughout Australia. Please, work together with your colleagues in the Legislative Assembly to ensure passage of the mandatory breeder registry bill.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Craige via Flickr