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What is the responsible thing to do when it appears that the “good guys” are seemingly not quite what is displayed in all the shiny packaging and fluffy social media posts?

For Oscars Law founder and leading animal advocate Debra Tranter the responsible thing to do was to expose it via her “Prisoners For Profit” website.

Dog’s Victoria are an organisation that market themselves as representing the reputable dog breeders across Victoria. Debra Tranter however has raised concerns regarding several breeders as well as an advertisement for a Field Officer position that gave the impression that Dogs Victoria were not overly concerned with animal welfare but far more concerned with protecting themselves and their members from the “Collateral Damage” of bad media exposure.

Within a few hours Tranter was being criticised as being biased, deceiving, ill-informed and for not giving the other side of the story. As it turned out that criticism came from a Dogs Victoria employee who took it upon herself to protect the organisation from the collateral damage that was surely coming its way. In all of her debunked critical commentary not once did she declare who her employer was. Two sides to a story indeed.

The story in question was regarding Dogs Victoria breeder which Tranter had personally investigated and documented. In question was photographic evidence of one dog with infections so bad it ears oozed puss and indicative it was likely suffering perforated eardrums. It had a bed full of holes, a floor covered in urine and faeces causing chemical burning on its paws, and to keep it alive a bowl of putrid water.

It's not the infection Dogs Victoria find offensive, its the exposure of it Image - Oscars Law

It’s not the infection Dogs Victoria find offensive, its the exposure of it
Image – Oscars Law

If there is a side to this story that justifies this kind of cruelty, I’d like to know what it is. I guess we’ll leave that explanation to field officers at Dog’s Victoria.

Dogs Victoria’s core membership is made up of reputable breeders who must be absolutely livid that their reputations must now be called into question. Guilt by association.

Some of the “reputable breeders” who have enjoyed Dog’s Victoria membership are

Murray River Puppies whose owner Jodie Knox is the former head of puppy factory lobby group AAPDB. Known for falsely claiming to be an RSPCA approved breeder until the RSPCA took legal action against them, Jodie breeds cavorgis, cavoodles, groodles, and schnoodles. Hardly pure-breds.

Kerrie Fitzpatrick, charged in court with animal cruelty last year after the RSPCA seized more than 35 dogs from her property. Kerries prefix is “PEPPERPARK” Her partner Colin Ross has the prefix “GOLDENDRIVE”, he was fined after council discovered him running a breeding business with no permit and 45 unregistered dogs.

The Sammut family’s Wyndham Puppy Factory was eventually shut down after a year-long investigation by Oscar’s Law who vet-worked and re-homed all of the rescued dogs. Anthony Sammut was charged with operating an illegal business and there was a public outcry when Wyndham Council dropped the 12 cruelty charges against him.

One of the dogs on the Sammut Wyndham property Image - Oscars Law

One of the dogs on the Sammut Wyndham property
Image – Oscars Law

Dogs Victoria come under the umbrella of the Australian National Kennel Club (ANKC). Also under that umbrella comes Dogs NSW, Dogs ACT, Dogs West, Dogs NT, Dogs NT, Dogs Queensland, Dogs SA, and Dogs Tasmania.

With Dog’s Victoria under the spotlight readers may recall some puppy factories that have been exposed recently from other states that enjoy ANKC membership

In NSW there is Lisa Flanagan. Flanagan is current appealing Inverell Councils decision to close her Copeton puppy factory with 345 dogs on it, it was closed down due to operating illegally and with unregistered dogs.

Also in NSW there is the notorious Anne Press. 93 dogs were removed from Press’s Uralla property. A supplier to pet shops, that again included Jodie Knox’s AAPDB endorsed stores, Press was operating illegally with approximately 200 dogs on her property.

Both of these barbaric breeders have enjoyed Dogs NSW membership.

In SA breeder Fiona Miller of Karoonda notoriety eventually had 176 seized by the RSPCA from a property at Strathalbyn, where paperwork seized indicated she was acting as a broker to retail pet stores, some of them AAPDB stores linked to Jodie Knox. Fiona Miller is a proud Dogs SA member with the prefix “ITSACLICHE”.

Another interesting aspect to organisations under the ANKC umbrella is they are self-regulated.

These organisations have no real powers in an investigatory or disciplinary sense. No powers of surveillance, no powers of entry, no powers of seizure, no powers to prosecute, no powers of enforcement and no powers of closure.

One only has to look at the canine industry bodies allowed to self-regulate in Victoria to get an idea of how well that self-regulation is going, there are only two, Dogs Victoria and Greyhound Racing Victoria.

Dogs Victoria have been shown recently to take up to a year to respond to reports of suspected animal cruelty, and Greyhound Racing Victoria I probably don’t need to go into.

According to financial statements Dogs Victoria made approximately $1.8 Million in revenue from its membership fees and the registration of those members litters. Fair to say that there is a lot at stake for Dog’s Victoria considering its product is its reputation. That reputation is based on the consumer’s confidence that a puppy purchased from a Dog’s Victoria breeder has been bred in an ethical manner and is in no way associated with a puppy factory.

Dog’s Victoria and ANKC breeders have enjoyed the recommendation of animal advocates and other authorities as places to purchase a companion animal ethically for decades, it remains to be seen how long that will continue. These endorsements were the principle reason that a Dog’s Victoria or ANKC membership represented a worthwhile investment for a breeder. These revelations and allegations now put the value of this membership under a huge cloud of doubt.

Hugh Gent, the Australian National Kennel Club CEO Image - ABC

Hugh Gent, the Australian National Kennel Club President
Image – ABC

Other industry memberships are widely known to be just endorsement from puppy factory lobby groups. Organisations such as Pet’s Australia, AADPD, and PIAA are fronted by puppy factory owners or have such owners on their board are seen as simply the retail arm of the puppy factories that the public want to see shut down.

Where Dog’s Victoria and other ANKC organisations were once seen as above all the rabble, now they find themselves in the centre of it.

If I were a paying member I would be thinking long and hard before paying my renewal fee, as I don’t think there is any value in being classed in the same league as those above. Membership seems to have a lack of privileges.

Self-regulation? Yeah right…
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7 thoughts on “Regulate – Self-regulation failing yet again

  1. As usual a well written and researched article although I am not holding my breath waiting for the MSM to pick up and run with the ball.
    Thanks again Peter for keeping the public informed.

  2. So…where’s ‘4 Corners’ when you need them. After the great greyhound expose one would think they’d jump at the chance to investigate these groups.
    Well done Wixxy. My wife, volunteering for Animal Welfare in NSW, every day comes across the sort of owners you write about. She works tirelessly [and I mean TIRELESSLY] to rescue dogs and give them a better life. If only the MSM would support these welfare groups we might have a fighting chance. Ahhh…one day!

  3. Thanks for the comment. It’s sade that they continue to get away with this

    Tell your wife to keep up the great work, it is appreciated

    Thanks for your support

  4. As usual a very poorly researched and badly written article leaving out such details as Anne was not a member of dogs nsw for almost a year before she voulentarily allowed RSPCA to re-home her retired ex breeding dogs she had planned to keep to have a happy retired life on a massive farm
    Then how also can Jodie Knox be ex head of the Aapdb yet next paragraph your saying Jodie’s Aapdb?
    Also I noticed you could say nothing negative about Jodie except that your organisation oscars law doesn’t agree with her and likes to use you as Deborah’s mouthpiece because a court basically said Deborah talks too much shit and is noting but scum

  5. As usual a comment from someone who clearly doesn’t care about cruelty.

    I could talk about a pet store WA that is once again shrouded in controversy for its attempts to sell an ex-breeding dog from a puppy farm for around $3K. The dog in question has a torn uterus from being used as a puppy vending machine. Decency would see it adopted out to a caring home, whereas greedy bastards would sell it.

    A big farm does not make a humane farm and the property of Anne Press is certInly evidence of that. Anne voluntary surrendered around 100 dogs that all required veterinary treatment for a variety of conditions related to neglect and abuse to avoid having charges laid. This hardly makes her the saint.

    Jodie Knox was head of AAPDB. The reason I referred to her as still being AAPDB is because she is still a member, you don’t have to be leader to be a member, although the organisation has such a small number of members they’ll likely all get a turn as each are forced to stand down after facing scrutiny. I’m not sure what the Knox family view on live baiting is, but I’m hearing interesting allegations on that practice…

    As for your research, I don’t have an organisation, certainly not Oscars Law, although I have huge respect for them.

    I’m nobody’s mouthpiece despite agreeing with Debra’s views.

    Anyway, courts don’t make judgements of the kind you refer to so I’ll just brush that off as more deluded rubbish.

    As for your view of her, Debra is someone making a real difference and bringing about positive change, she is well respected and is considered the most knowledgable in her space. You on the other hand use a fake name to spruik the views of an publicly condemned industry that is dying at a rapid rate while it’s members front court on cruelty charges.

    How proud you must be

    19 . Cruelty to animals
    (1) A person must not be cruel to an animal. **
    Penalty: Minimum — $2 000.
    Maximum — $50 000 and imprisonment for 5 years.

    Below is my synopsis, copied & pasted from Victorian Government Code Of Practice For The Private Keeping Of Dogs

    1. Preface
    The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 came into force on 20 May 1986 and is administered by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR). It has the purpose of protecting animals, encouraging the considerate treatment of animals and improving the level of community awareness about the prevention of cruelty to animals.
    2. Purpose of the Code
    This Code is made under the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
    The Code and its provisions are to be observed by owners, carers and custodians of dogs.

    This Code of Practice is intended to provide the minimum standards of accommodation, management and care appropriate to the physical and behavioural requirements of dogs.Domestic Animal Business means:

    (a) an animal shelter, council pound or pet shop; or
    (b) a dog rearing, training or boarding enterprise that is run for profit; or
    (c) a dog breeding enterprise that sells dogs where:
    the enterprise has 3 or more fertile female dogs; or
    the enterprise has 10 or more fertile female dogss but the owner is a member of an applicable organisation under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
    5. Legal responsibilities

    *NB: The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 sets out the offences for failing to properly care and provide for a dog. This legislation includes requirements such as provision of proper and sufficient food, water, shelter and veterinary treatment (see relevant sections of code for details).

    *NB: The Domestic Animals Act 1994 sets out requirements such as registration, confinement and identification of dogs and the powers of local Councils to ensure these requirements are met. Minimum Standards

    *NB: Owners must provide their dog with proper and sufficient food, water, shelter and veterinary treatment.
    Dogs must be treated humanely.
    Found or stray dogs in the possession of a person other than the owner must be handed over to the local Council as soon as possible.
    Owners must abide by legislative requirements including:
    dogs must be registered with, and identified as required by, the local Council;

    *NB: All dogs should be microchipped to ensure they are permanently identified.
    Owner contact details need to be kept up to date with the microchip registry.

    *NB: Owners are responsible for the health and welfare of their dog(s) and must provide both the basic necessities and a good quality of life for their dog(s).

    *NB: Good dog welfare depends on owner and handler competency. Owners need to understand and provide appropriate care, handling and management requirements for their dog.

    7. Nutrition
    Minimum Standards
    *NB: Dogs must be fed a diet that provides proper and sufficient food to maintain good health and meet their physiological requirements.

    *NB: Dogs need to be fed a well-balanced diet to maintain health, vitality and body weight in the correct range for their breed and age (see body condition categories section below and Appendix 3).

    **NB: A dog’s body condition needs to be monitored regularly to ensure its diet is adequate, and dogs should be maintained in the ‘ideal’ body condition range (see body condition categories section below and Appendix 3).Body condition categories

    **NB: Underweight – Ribs are easily felt and seen, no fat felt under the skin.

    8. Water
    Minimum Standards
    **NB: Dogs must have access to clean drinking water at all times.
    Water containers must be checked daily and maintained in a clean condition.*NB: An individual dog’s daily water requirement depends on a number of factors including daily temperature, amount of exercise, water content of diet;
    **NB: i.e. greater water requirements if fed dry food compared to canned food, age, etc.

    9. Health and disease
    Minimum Standards**

    **NB :A dog’s health and welfare must be checked daily.
    Veterinary advice must be promptly sought for dogs showing signs of injury, ill health or distress.
    **NB: Dogs must be treated regularly for internal and external parasites and vaccinated against common diseases.

    *NB: Dogs should be groomed regularly especially breeds with a long or thick
    coat. Severe matting of the coat is not acceptable and may require a veterinarian or experienced groomer to deal with this. To avoid this matting of the coat dogs require regular grooming, shampooing and routine clipping (this should be done by a veterinarian or experienced person).
    If a dog’s claws are too long they should be trimmed.

    **NB: Dogs can appear quite resilient to pain and may just go quiet or hide as a response to injury or disease. This does not mean that they are not in pain or injured. Abnormal behaviours can indicate underlying health problems.

    **NB: A breeding dog must be fit, healthy and free of disease.
    Dogs with a known history of physical or genetic defects (that will affect the dog or its progeny’s quality of life) must not be used for breeding.
    Females must not be bred before they are 12 months old, to ensure they are physically fully grown.
    Veterinary advice must be sought immediately if there are any concerns about a pregnancy or labour.
    Puppies must not be separated from the mother before 7 weeks of age and not be sold or given away until 8 weeks of age or older.
    Recommended Best Practice

    If it is not intended to use a male or female dog for responsible breeding purposes, they should be desexed by a veterinarian. Desexing can be done safely from 8 weeks of age and preferably before puberty (4-6 months).

    Before breeding, dogs should be health-checked by a veterinarian. This will include checking for any known breed genetic defects (that will affect the dog or its progeny’s quality of life).
    Inherited defects may detract from the dog’s overall health and cause pain or discomfort that cannot be cured and animals with such defects should not be bred from.

    **NB: Regardless of breed, bitches should be at least 12 months old and in their second season before being mated for the first time. For the larger dog breeds, the recommended age for first breeding is generally 18 months old; i.e., when the bitch is fully grown and mature.

    **NB: Bitches should not be mated to have more than two litters in an 18-month period. For the larger breeds, this should be not more than 2 litters per 24 month period.

    **NB:The following requirements are part of the Code of Practice for the Tethering of Animals:
    tethered dogs must be trained to accept tethering and require greater supervision and owner vigilance than other untethered animals;
    water and weatherproof shelter must be available and within the dog’s reach at all times;
    collars must be fitted with a swivel to which the tether is attached and be checked daily;
    dogs less than four months old, bitches in season and bitches about to give birth must not be tethered;
    dogs must not be tethered to movable objects or adjacent to a fence in a manner that places them at danger of death by hanging;
    dogs must be given regular daily exercise off the tether.

    14. Training, Socialisation and Exercise
    Minimum Standards
    Dogs must not be attack trained except in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Operation of Dog Training Establishments.*NB:It is an offence to train dogs to attack, except in accordance with the Domestic Animals Act 1994. Attack training is only permissible for police and armed services use. Licensed security guards may also have attack trained dogs provided the requirements of the Code of Practice for the Operation of Dog Training Establishments are met. Such dogs are automatically declared as dangerous dogs and owners must comply with the associated legislative requirements.

    **NB:Dogs must be given regular exercise.

    *NB:Puppies should be socialised with a range of people and animals and exposed to a variety of experiences so they are confident with these situations later in life. Training and socialisation should be an ongoing commitment throughout the dog’s life but are particularly important during the formative first 8 –16 week period of life.

    **NB:Examine dog collars daily for any sign of rubbing or injury. A collar needs to be tight enough that it cannot easily slip off but not so tight that it rubs or chokes the dog. Ideally you should be able to slip two fingers between the collar and dog’s neck.

    Sorry it is so long. WTF are they making Laws that THEY do not uphold???

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