Sue Merrick and Andrew Kelly with Buddy, who was rescued from a puppy mill.
Sue Merrick and Andrew Kelly with Buddy, who was rescued from a puppy mill. Bruce Thomas

Dogs bred in cages

WHEN you hear the term

“puppy farm” you may get an image of rolling hills where puppies roam free, but the reality is closer to the life of battery hens with dogs confined to cages or tied to trees.

Coffs Harbour’s RSPCA has rehabilitated more than 200 dogs and puppies over the past 12 months and regional

inspectors are cracking down on backyard breeders.

Northern regional inspector Andrew Kelly said they conduct inspections to make sure dog breeders comply with the Department of Primary Industries’ regulations.

“The situation is like an intensive chicken farm, with pairs of dogs kept in small cages that they often never get out of,” Mr Kelly said.

“They never see a vet and are heavily burdened by worms and fleas. They continually breed until they are worn out and it cuts their life span significantly.

“One group of dogs we found were tied up to trees, living on remnants of old meat covered in maggots and faeces.

“We are slowly addressing the problem and pet shops are required to keep records of where their puppies come from so we can track them down.

“Online sales are the biggest problem and we need to

educate people that if they buy online they should go to the breeder’s property and see the parents.”

RSPCA shelter manager Sue Merrick said people needed to be vigilant when it came to

purchasing a pet and were encouraged to buy from RSPCA shelters where animals are vet checked, wormed, vaccinated, de-sexed, trained, socialised and given behavioural assessments.

Inspector Andrew Kelly said animals rescued from a terrible situation appreciated a new chance at life, all the more reason to “adopt, don’t shop”.



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