No laws to control backyard breeders

KLANG: There is currently no specific law in Malaysia to regulate backyard animal breeders who supply animals for the pet trade, says Dr Saravanakumar S. Pillai, former deputy director of the Department of Services veterinarians (DVS).

Dr Saravanakumar, who is currently a senior advisor to the Humane Society International (HSI), said some pet stores were offering puppies bred by professional breeders, as well as others from “questionable sources”.

“If you go to some of these pet stores, you will find that there are puppies from professional breeders, which are sold at quite a high price.

“You will know who the breeders are as well as the lineage of the puppy and you will receive a certificate for the puppy upon purchase,” he said, adding that these stores would likely also have another set of purebred puppies sold at a lower price.

Dr Saravakumar was responding to a Selangor government proposal to ban all pet stores in the state from selling cats and dogs to encourage the public to adopt pets from shelters.

Selangor Local Government, Public Transport and New Village Development Committee chairman Ng Sze Han on Monday said the state was finalizing the plan to ban all pet stores from selling cats and dogs.

“If all local councils implement such programs, we can help reduce the pet abandonment rate,” he said during a forum on managing neglected dogs in Selangor.

Dr Saravanakumar said: “Unfortunately, there are no specific laws to take action against these backyard breeders and puppy mills, except the Animal Welfare Act 2015 (AWA 2015) be applied for cruelty, and for this there must be sufficient evidence of mistreatment.

“Under the AWA 2015, breeding activities require a license, and if they do not have one, they can be reserved for that.”

However, in addition to meeting the cage and cleanliness specifications outlined in the AWA 2015, there are regulations dictating how pet stores must source the animals they offer for sale.

Some industry players welcomed Selangor’s proposal, with dog trainer Carlos Huertas saying backyard breeding and puppy mills were a big problem not only here but also in other parts of the world .

“It’s because people want to buy pedigree, but want it cheap.

“Those who want to buy pedigrees should go and get them directly from licensed breeders who ensure that quality is maintained and that there is no inbreeding,” Huertas said.

He added that puppies from backyard breeders who were the result of extensive inbreeding often had a variety of health and behavioral problems.

For this reason, some owners even abandon their store-bought pets because they cannot handle their destructive behavior.

However, he added that even if Selangor’s ban could be implemented, nothing could be done to curb online sales of dogs from illegal facilities.

“There are so many people selling their puppies and kittens online these days, and buyers often end up with animals that have physical and mental defects due to inbreeding,” he said.

According to Huertas, those who abandon their puppies and kittens are also those who buy them cheaply online.

“If you pay a good price and get a puppy or kitten raised appropriately and ethically, you won’t let them down,” he said.

Edward Lim, kennel director of the Paws Animal Welfare Society, agreed, saying that all the pedigrees that ended up at the shelter were those purchased from questionable sources.

“If they came from licensed, professional breeders, they would have been microchipped with the breeder’s contact details.

“The pedigrees that come to us are not microchipped,” he said, adding that most of the purebred animals that ended up on the streets were toy breeds such as shih tzu, poodle and Pomeranian.

In addition to having behavioral problems, they are also likely to suffer from various illnesses, injuries and physical deformities.


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