Another point of view from Oscar's Law site -https://www.oscarslaw.org/blog/update-on-south-australian-puppy-farmers?fbclid=IwAR0HRuELJqXfN880pIyDdtBQ6rGlad7IslDUOVLTeIIId_J3p5ZgEHovqj0
Update on South Australian puppy farmers Colin Ross, Kerrie Fitzpatrick
On March 29 at the Supreme Court of South Australia, Colin Ross failed in his bid to regain control over the dogs seized by RSPCA SA. We are pleased that the courts dismissed his appeal and that the dogs won't be taken to a "third party breeder at Mr Ross's expense" as the courts heard. Colin has appeared in court before in Victoria and found guilty of operating an illegal puppy factory, failing to register dogs, amongst some of the charges and is currently still on a good behavior bond in Victoria. Kerrie Fitzpatrick has a ten year banning order in place in Victoria.
In our opinion, based on 26 years of rescuing dogs from puppy factories, most seized puppy factory dogs rehabilitate best in a calm, safe home environment with experienced foster carers and the rescue groups we work with have proven this approach works best many times over many years. It also should be stated that we believe the current animal welfare system in relation to enforcement, seizure and prosecution powers in Australia is broken, and that we have recently been doing a lot of work with various other people and organisations on this issue. We fully support an Independent Office of Animal Welfare, a complete overhaul of the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals Act and a review of who is granted powers of enforcement and prosecution in regards to animal welfare.
This is not a post about the fate of the dogs, or the flawed assessment after 5 months that lead to a report stating they should be killed. Our opinion is clear on what should happen to the seized dogs. It's about how puppy farmers and their appointed spokesperson in SA is manipulating the situation in order to win the cruelty case so they can continue with their puppy factory. A huge amount of tax free income is at stake here. Unfortunately this is a pattern of behavior we have previously witnessed.
The videos being released on social media were taken in October 2018 during one of the many inspections of the puppy factory, they are not the behavioural assessments that lead to an independent report stating the dogs should be killed as the person in SA is suggesting. They are initial observations of the dogs behaviour in the puppy factory, we don't necessarily agree with some of those observations, and we don't support the final report stating the dogs should be killed. What the videos do show, is terrified traumatised puppy factory dogs, in other words, normal behaviour on a puppy factory. Because puppy farmers damage dogs, thats just what they do, they deny them environmental enrichment, socialisation, they live a life of deprivation and puppies are born into this rotten unhealthy environment. This type of psychological trauma inflicted on dogs is something rescue groups have to deal with on a regular basis. The best thing and only hope for these dogs is immediate seizure and placement with an experienced foster care network. Precedents for this course of action has been established many times in the past. We do realise that seized dogs cannot be placed into the care of experienced rescue groups until a court rules on a 'disposal order', an (unfortunately named ) order which determines ownership of the dogs, once ownership is determined by this order dogs be placed into the community foster care system. Anyone who inflicts this sort of damage on dogs should be banned from ever doing it again, they should not be given the chance to relocate to a different state and start again, even if their spokesperson in SA is saying they will now run a 'better' puppy farm.
Taking videos and documenting conditions, behaviours, environments is normal procedure during initial cruelty investigations on any puppy factory. The videos were disclosed to the puppy farmers legal team as part of whats known as 'discovery', a legal requirement in all legal cases. The videos have been leaked by the puppy farmers and the person supporting them in SA, and are being deliberately misrepresented by suggesting its the actual behaviour assessment that lead to a report recommending dogs be killed. This is being done in order to attempt to build a defence to their cruelty charges. It should be pointed out that before the dogs were seized, the puppy farmers were given more than enough time to fix any breaches and comply with the legislation. They refused.
It's disappointing that the public are being misled, this is exactly what the puppy farmers wanted to achieve. In regards to the report written by the animal behaviourists, we reiterate our position based on our experience. Most puppy factory survivors rehabilitate best in a calm, safe, home environment with experienced foster carers. There is plenty of evidence and studies publicly available that proves, behavioural assessments in a pound or puppy factory situation are flawed and are not reliable in predicting behaviour, and don't achieve whats best for the dog. Perhaps this is one positive that this case will achieve, a change in our current system.
We stand with the many brave people that reported this puppy factory and who have unfortunately had to have their sick pups put down, or fork out thousands of dollars for veterinary treatment. It is a known fact that the first few weeks of a pups life, what they learn from their mother and their environment, determines their behaviour going forward. Pups born in puppy factories to fearful, anxious, sick mothers, in large noisy sheds, learn from their mothers and the environment they are raised. These anxious fearful pups go on to require extensive rehabilitation. The puppy farmers continue to breed, and continue to sell their sick, in some cases clearly inbred, puppies on trading post and gumtree under a variety of names and phone numbers in order to fool the public.
There is so much more we would like to divulge at this moment in time, we will be providing the full story, once the court case is over, as we do not want to put the case at risk, and play into the current tactics the puppy farmers and the person in SA who they have approached to help them are using.
Something to keep in mind, based on our experience, here is how a typical puppy farmer facing cruelty charges starts to build a defence.
1. Discredit everyone, authorities, politicians, media, anyone that speaks against puppy factories. Use language that attempts to normalise puppy factories. Deny the owners have previous convictions, say they are 'good people' trying to breed dogs, say they have a long family history of breeding dogs, say they are facing bankruptcy for just trying to do right thing, say the puppy farmers are being harassed, just say anything , deflect deflect deflect. Ask the vet that the puppy farmers use for semen collection, progesterone testing, artificial insemination, microchips etc to write a report saying dogs are fine, nothing wrong with them. Release that report as actual "scientific professional evidence nothing wrong with dogs" (Vets working for puppy farmers will protect their income and regularly take the witness stand to say nothing is wrong with their clients dogs, we have witnessed this in every puppy farm cruelty case )
2. Release some dogs to rescue (sometimes this is the only chance dogs have to escape the puppy factory, its not done out of any concern for the dogs, only concern for themselves. Many times puppy farmers will call in people to take dogs if they know a council inspection is imminent and they are over their limit. Many rescue groups around Australia do this often and work incredibly hard to rehabilitate these damaged dogs and find them homes)
3. Hide the bulk of the dogs on other puppy factories (In this particular case, they had a Council permit for 65 adults, but had in excess of 300 dogs on site, one wonders why the Council allowed this to happen. We do have further information on this particular Council's unethical behaviour, and we are lodging a complaint with the Ombudsman and the relevant Minister)
4. Appoint one of the staff members, or a supporter, as the "New Manager"
Typical defence "Your Honour, my client has done the right thing, they have given their beloved dogs to rescue groups so they can find good homes, they have appointed a new manager to ensure the 'breeding facility' continues to comply with all legislation. Their own vet even said nothing is wrong with these dogs"
We did say in our original post, that these puppy farmers would seek out help to manipulate the public, and thats exactly what you are all witnessing now. We can all play a part in saving dogs from puppy factories, rejoice in their rescue, work at shutting the puppy factories down. We don't need to thank the puppy farmer for releasing some dogs to rescue, and hiding the rest on other puppy factories, we don't need to work on building 'better' puppy farms, because everyone knows, there is no such thing as a 'good' puppy factory.
It says a lot about the character of a person when criminally convicted animal abusers keep running to them for help when they are once again caught.
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