The following comments can be attributed to City of Greater Geelong Director Planning, Design and Development Gareth Smith:
How many reports of backyard breeders has council investigated this financial year and what were the outcomes of these investigations?
We have investigated 20 reports relating to breeding. We have also investigated 32 allegations of an excessive number of animals at a property. Where offences are identified, legislative action can be taken including a notice to comply, infringement and court action.
How many investigations into backyard breeders did council complete in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and what action was taken on any backyard breeder identified?
2017/2018 - 16 Investigations
2018/2019 - 22 Investigations
The outcomes range from education through to a notice to comply, infringement and court action.
What action is Council able to take when it identifies an alleged backyard breeder?
Compliance is our focus. We seek this through engagement, education and enforcement.
Under the Domestic Animal Act 1994, our authorised officers may issue a notice to comply if a micro breeder is found to have more than the permitted number of two fertile female dogs (over 12 months old) or two relevant fertile female cats (over 9 months old). The notice would direct the breeder to reduce the number of fertile animals, or to apply for a Domestic Animal Business permit with council or become a Breeding Member of Dogs Victoria.
Breeders with 3-10 fertile female dogs or 3 or more fertile female cats (and who are not members of an applicable organisation) are required to register with their local council as a Domestic Animal Business (DAB) and comply with the mandatory Code of Practice. Breeders with 11-50 fertile female dogs are defined as a ‘commercial dog breeder’. They must be registered as a DAB before applying to the Minister for commercial dog breeder approval.
These businesses will be subject to audits and inspections by departmental authorised officers, which will be considered by Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer. All businesses must comply with the Code. Businesses with more than 50 fertile female dogs will not be allowed to operate after 2020.