IN THE NEWS: New pet rules in limbo

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IN THE NEWS: On MAY 23, 2012

THE effectiveness of a new law to crack down on illegal puppy farms in Victoria is a mystery.

The new version of the Domestic Animals Act began on January 1 but it is not known whether there has been a single prosecution.

There are no reporting mechanisms enshrined in the new law.

The Department of Primary Industries said compliance with the provisions of the Act were enforced by local government and the RSPCA.

"Neither councils nor the RSPCA are obligated to report these details to the department," a DPI spokesman said.

Councils are known to have taken vastly different approaches to the new laws.

Some council by-laws officers, chiefly in metropolitan areas, have been removing notices in supermarkets and corner stores advertising dogs and cats without advertising microchip information.

Councils in other areas, chiefly rural councils with smaller budgets, are finding enforcement more difficult.

Neither the Municipal Association of Victoria or the RSPCA was aware of any prosecutions progressing or completed under the new laws.

Dogs Victoria, set apart as the "applicable organisation" under the new laws, has had contact from members seeking help to advise their own council they are exempt from certain sections of the new laws.

Dogs Victoria was also not aware of any prosecutions proceeding under the new Act.

Meanwhile, the DPI is checking the results of its online survey on a code of practice governing pet breeders.

The Government is reviewing the code, particularly the areas which have outlawed working dog breeders over the housing requirements for pets.

Almost 2000 people responded to the survey, of which 1431 were Victorian residents. The DPI said 69 per cent (1348 people) were pet owners and 11.3 per cent (220) were dog or cat breeders.

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