The SPCA has taken care of more than 100 dogs and puppies from a suspected puppy mill near Dargaville which has now closed. Photo / provided
More than 100 dogs and puppies at an alleged Northland puppy farm have been turned over to the SPCA and the operation was shut down following a lengthy investigation.
The large dog farm near Dargaville
came under scrutiny when animal rights activists broke into the property last October after worrying about the health and welfare of the animals.
The SPCA said on Tuesday “satisfied with the result of the investigation” and “to have been able to work successfully with the breeder to relocate the animals”.
The animal welfare charity is now calling for the dog breeding industry to be properly regulated.
“After working closely and in full consultation with the owner, the decision was made to hand over the majority of the animals to the SPCA,” said National Inspection Director Alan Wilson.
“Over the weeks and months that followed, the SPCA worked with the breeder to become the owner of over 100 dogs and puppies.
“The owner was fully cooperative and the farm is now closed.”
The SPCA first visited the property last year after hearing about animal welfare concerns from the Bay of Islands Animal Rescue group.
Animal rights activists in the group filmed themselves at the property and shared the video on social media.
The images showed dozens of dogs of different breeds, including beagles, golden retrievers, poodles and Maltese, locked behind a corrugated iron fence. Inside their enclosures, they stood on broken pallets on the ground.
As a result of this visit, the rescue group secured six of the dogs while the SPCA bred three.
Wilson said inspectors had collected the rest of the animals in recent months.
Each animal was well fed and had access to water and shelter, and the SPCA found no violations of the animal welfare law, he said.
“In this particular case, no laws were broken,” Wilson said.
“However, it probably would have been difficult to take care of so many dogs.
“We understand the public interest and the concerns of the local community in this matter, but would like to reiterate that the owner has been fully cooperative and has done his best for the dogs.”
All dogs and puppies are now receiving SPCA care or have been adopted into new homes, Wilson said.
Bay of Islands Animal Rescue founder Summer Johnson said the SPCA had “let these animals down.”
There have been numerous animal welfare law violations, Johnson said, including inbreeding and poor living conditions which caused mental instability and physical problems.
The dogs were also not being properly trained or cared for, she said.
“There were flaws in everything.
“The dogs we still have in our care are receiving ongoing medication for post-traumatic stress disorder and still cannot be repatriated.
“They should not be happy with their investigation, the time that these dogs have been left in his care is heartbreaking.”
The dog breeding industry in New Zealand is unregulated, so there is no limit on the number of dogs a person can own, unless council regulations provide for it. otherwise.
The SPCA said there was a need for better standards in the dog breeding industry, including independent regulation and inspection of all breeding establishments.
The charity also wants dogs to be microchipped, registered and deexed before sale or placement.
SPCA chief science officer Dr Alison Vaughan said it is currently up to breeders to act responsibly and potential buyers to know where they are adopting from.
People should not buy animals from breeders whose main motivation for breeding was to produce large numbers of animals for profit, she said.
“If you’re looking to buy a dog from a breeder, it’s really important to do your homework.
“We encourage people to adopt a reputable rescue organization… but if you’re looking to buy a dog, make sure it’s from a reputable breeder.
“It helps reduce unwanted pet problems caused by over-supply and lowers the risk of your puppy having health or behavioral issues.”
Charlie’s New Family
When Kerikeri resident Margot Farrand started welcoming Charlie the Golden Retriever five months ago, he was “very anxious and scared.”
Charlie was one of six dogs obtained by the Bay of Islands Animal Rescue Group late last year after visiting the large Dargaville kennel which housed over 100 dogs and puppies.
The 3-year-old has gradually regained his self-confidence thanks to his new family environment.
Farrand’s older dog, Scout, had also “helped a lot” with the adjustment.
“He was really scared of people, he wouldn’t have anything to do with me,” Farrand said.
“He would run away as soon as he could.
“The Boy Scout was his saving grace. He was like a grandfather to him.”
Farrand started welcoming Charlie in December and he is now an integral part of the family.