Pet Industry Association of Australia – we are calling on you to act and be part of the solution.

 

It has now been about 3 years since the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) launched their "Pet Traceability and Rehoming Policy" that they claimed will "help reduce the number of abandoned dogs put down each year" by rehoming any dog that ended up in a pound/shelter that was originally purchased from one of their pet shops. So how many dogs have PIAA re-homed in the last three years? We have the answer for you, and it may be shocking.

 

Two.

 

That’s right, two dogs. Instead of admitting this policy just hasn't worked and was never going to work, PIAA have stated; "The main reason for this low number is because shelter animals don't come from pet shops"

 

 Yes, they really said that! 

 


 

 

 

Recently PIAA posted the following statement on their Facebook page:

 

"Pet Industry Association supports stricter regulations for all dog breeders and pet shops. The Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) highlights their ‘Dogs Lifetime Guarantee Policy On Traceability and Re-Homing' in response to the Victorian Government’s proposal to ban pet shops from selling puppies.

 

The Victorian Government is planning to implement stronger regulations to phase out rogue puppy farms, including limiting pet shops to only selling dogs and cats that are supplied from registered animal shelters or pounds. But the PIAA is concerned the policy will have a negative effect on animal welfare.

 

Bob Croucher, acting Chief Executive Officer of the PIAA, says the Association supports strong government regulation on the sale of puppies and kittens - and in fact has stronger guidelines for its members through the PIAA Dogs Lifetime Guarantee Policy on Traceability and Re-homing – however, stopping pet shops from selling puppies is not the answer to ending puppy farms.”

 

After posting this, they banned Oscar’s Law from commenting. So here’s our response:

 

Oscar's Law - Yes we agree, but stopping the sale of animals in pet shops will take away a huge part of the market for puppy factories. By turning pet shops into adoption centres, they will also play a part in educating the public about how to avoid buying from puppy factories, such as the huge online market.

 

"PIAA pet shop members want to stamp out puppy farms. Banning responsible pet shops will only drive the trade to back yards that are hard to regulate,” he says. "Most sales of puppies are through the Internet, newspaper adverts and through word-of-mouth where there are no regulations. Pet shops supply less than 15 per cent of the market.”

 

Oscar's Law - Pet shops that are members of PIAA buy from puppy factories; some of these puppy factories are members of PIAA. PIAA want to continue selling factory farmed puppies as they care about dollars, not animal welfare. This was evident in a newspaper article where PIAA, pet shops and puppy farmers played the victim – speaking about loss of income. The real victims, their dogs, were not discussed – clearly showing where their priorities lie.

 

"People who want an 8-week-old puppy and cannot obtain one from a pet shop will then search online or meet in a car park, risking buying from a puppy farm or getting scammed, Mr Croucher says.”

 

Oscar's Law - Incorrect. People who are looking for a specific breed of puppy can contact a registered breeder, and there are also breed specific rescue groups and plenty of rescue groups and shelters that do have puppies. PIAA could always join in and start spending some of their money on running an educational campaign on how to avoid supporting puppy factories – instead of well, supporting puppy factories!

 

"Also pet shops currently re-home kittens that are unwanted and surrendered by the public, and under the new ruling, hundreds of kittens would have to be surrendered to already overcrowded shelters, he adds.”

 

Oscar's Law - Pounds, shelters and rescue groups already rehome thousands of kittens, especially during the warmer months, which is predominantly ‘kitten season’. There is no need to keep selling factory farmed puppies in pet shops in order to save kittens! Most importantly, unlike pet shops, rescue groups make sure the kittens/cats and dogs/puppies they adopt out are desexed. Using the argument "kittens will die if you don’t let us trade in animals” is a bit extreme, desperate and just plain silly PIAA.

 

"Three years ago, the PIAA established the Dogs Lifetime Guarantee Policy On Traceability and Re-Homing so that no puppy sold through a PIAA member pet store will ever be euthanized if it ends up in a shelter,” says Mr Croucher.

 

Oscar's Law - In the last 3 years, they have re-homed 2 puppies under this policy. That is not the great success it was promoted as 3 years ago! Instead of admitting the policy really hasn’t worked, they have stated; "Shelter animals don’t come from pet shops”.  Its a ridiculous statement to make unless PIAA have audited every single pound, shelter and rescue group in Australia to determine where 'shelter animals' come from.

 

 

The story of Benji - the dog surrendered to the pound. He was not taken to the pound because he wasn't sold, he was taken there due to behavioural issues as explained below by John Grima.

"The real story behind Benji is that he went to a loving home on the 6/08/11. Routine follow ups from my staff as to the transition was all going well (follow ups with every new puppy owner are routine when they find their forever home). Some months later Benji’s owner called us to say that she was having issues with Benji showing signs of aggression to their other dog (that also came from us) and the owner. We provided some initial advice and when the issues were ongoing we had 2 well known and experienced dog trainers assess Benji at our own cost. It was then decided by the trainers that it was not in Benji’s best interest to be with this family due to his very dominant nature. The owner agreed to allow us to have him taken to the AWL on the 14/12/2011. He was assessed by AWL and the decision (in conjunction with his owner) was made for Benji to go into foster care and to partake in behavioral training. His training was successful he was re homed to his forever home by the AWL a few months later." - John Grima, Managing Director of Kellyville Pets  and Retail Director of PIAA

This is just one example from one petshop and John Grima advises that "this is the first time we have had this happen in 31 years of business" We thank John for clarifying the story around Benji and hope Benji is doing much better now.

Behavioural Issues with puppies sold from pet shops

As we all know there is now overwhelming scientific evidence proving the link between behavioural problems and pet shop puppies.

Behaviour Differences in Dogs from Pet Stores Versus Breeders

Study finds pet store puppies come with increased risk

A great post from veterinarian Marc Abraham 

"PIAA member pet stores have already partnered with RSPCA and Animal Welfare League branches in finding homes for rescue puppies and kittens.”

 

Oscar's Law - Yes, some pet stores that don’t trade in factory farmed puppies do a wonderful job supporting rescue and holding adoption days – such as PetStock, Pet Barn and Pets Domain. These stores seem to thrive without the need to trade in puppies from puppy factories or back yard breeders. In fact they thrive because those who do not want to support a business that supports puppy factories will go out of their way for a more ethical alternative. It seems that many PIAA member stores are actually leading the way! Only two state branches of the RSPCA have signed on in support of PIAA policy; NSW and QLD. RSPCA in Victoria refused stating the following; "Most pet stores, including PIAA members, are not providing consumers with proper information about the puppies’ origins, its parents’ lineage, the environment its mother lives or the facility it has come from, to make an informed decision. The public just cant be confident they aren’t supporting the puppy factories by getting a puppy from a pet shop.”

 

 

"The Policy also allows any puppy to be traced back to its origin of breeding for transparency and the PIAA-approved breeding establishment to be inspected by a veterinarian annually,” he says.

 

Here’s the PIAA vet audit

 

11 questions – a vet wouldn’t even have to handle one dog in order to complete the 11-question "audit”.

 

"This Policy shows that responsible pet stores are part of the solution towards more humane treatment of dogs and stamping out dodgy puppy farms.”

 

Here are some of the dogs supplying PIAA pet shops:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Oscar's Law - Responsible pet stores are ones that refuse to act as a retail outlet for puppy factories or back yard breeders. Support pet shops that choose not to trade in animals and instead work with rescue and promote adoption, working to create a kinder world for dogs.

 

"PIAA supports controlled puppy advertising. The Association supports the licensing of breeders and a license number published on the sale of any puppy, as well as the microchip number of one-off sale puppies to be advertised. Association members that use breeders are required to supply a certificate from a veterinarian that has inspected the breeder’s premises and confirm that they are ethical breeders.”

 

Oscar's Law - Registered ethical breeders do not sell to pet shops. PIAA call their puppy farmers "breeders” to fool the public into thinking they are making a responsible decision. Vets who are contracted to puppy farmers have a vested interest and look after their income – rather than the breeding dogs welfare. Really, anyone can ask the 11 questions on the PIAA audit – it really has nothing to do with veterinary care for the dogs.

 

"The Association also has systems in place that allow for accidental births and other one-off circumstances that would otherwise impose more pressure on the shelters, says Mr Croucher.”

 

Oscar's Law - Any breeder that is responsible would not have an ‘accidental litter’, and rewarding backyard breeders with cash for litters and then selling undesexed puppies is an equally irresponsible system.

 

"The Association encourages pet shops to become members to enable them to sell puppies and consumers purchase their puppies from PIAA stores where the source of the puppy is proven to be from an ethical breeder and the animal will be guaranteed for life to be found a home if abandoned.”

 

Oscar's Law - Only about 1/3 of all pet shops in Australia are members of PIAA – this a push for membership and as stated above only two puppies have been re-homed in 3 years under the PIAA policy.

 

"The Pet Industry Association’s repeated calls for discussion with the Victorian Minister Jaala Pulford is falling on deaf ears.

 

"The Association has grave concerns that there has been no research, no consultation with the industry and the policy’s implementation will have major effects on not just animal welfare but also legitimate and ethical businesses that have been operating and employing staff for many years,” says Mr Croucher.”

 

Oscar's Law - Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, consulted many animal welfare organizations and individuals when researching the Victorian Government policy. There was plenty of "research” and "consultation with industry”, it’s just that all the consultation was done with organizations that truly care about dog welfare and that don’t have a vested interest in factory farming companion animals.  PIAA represent a small minority (not even half of the pet shops in Australia) so really there is no reason why Minister Pulford would consult with them.

 

In conclusion, it’s time that PIAA moved with the times and listened to their customers and their members who are leading the way. There has been a huge shift in concern for animals and their welfare in the recent years, and the movement is only growing. Until pet shops stop trading in animals and commits to rehoming animals from shelters and rescue groups, they will continue to be part of the problem, not part of the solution – and will ultimately lose more support.


The Pet Industry Fights Back 

2012
The Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) is concerned with the fact that more members of the public than ever before are learning the truth about puppy factories and are asking questions. The PIAA has also noticed a steady decline in pet shop sales and an increasing number of its member stores making the decision not to 'stock' animals and start working with rescue. In an attempt to boost pet shop sales, the PIAA has come up with a policy designed to fool the public. PIAA have called this policy the "Dog Lifetime Guarantee Policy on Traceability and Rehoming"

Chief Executive of the PIAA, Roger Perkins (note: Roger Perkins resigned from PIAA in 2014) has made some outrageous claims about the policy including
PIAA Chief Executive Roger Perkins said the new policy was about guaranteeing "happy pets for life".
All pups sold in PIAA member stores would also be guaranteed not to come from "puppy farms", Mr Perkins said.

The policy is written by the PIAA, a trade industry group dedicated to protecting the 'pet producers' and selling pets via its shops. The annual vet audit is a checklist  which is 11 questions, completed only once a year that doesn't require the inspecting vet to examine the health status of, or even touch any dog. By passing this farcical audit the PIAA puppy factory can then sell puppies through PIAA pet stores. It's all about creating profit with no concern for animal welfare. 

The PIAA states that it does not support puppy factories yet some of Australia's most intensive puppy factories, with up to 300 breeding dogs onsite, are members of and protected by PIAA. Puppy farmers cannot adequately meet the physical, behavioural and psychological needs of 300 dogs which is why the RSPCA in Victoria have chosen not to support the PIAA policy. 

"RSPCA Victoria also does not support the PIAA policy, nor the sale of animals from pet shops. It also has a different view than the PIAA on what makes up a puppy farm and little faith in the ability of PIAA pet stores to run responsibly" ~ Pet Industry News Autumn 2013

Australian Association of Pet Dog Breeders (AAPDB) is a PIAA approved organisation. The AAPDB was founded by vet Kate Schoeffel. Since her puppy factory was exposed, Kate has temporarily stood down as President of the AAPDB but remains their veterinary advisor. The current President of the AAPDB owns Murray River Puppies, they claim the current amount of breeding dogs they have is 140. Murray River have previously stated that they own 200 breeding dogs and that they supply over 50 pet shops Australia wide on a regular basis.
Banksia Park puppy factory  currently have 300 breeding dogs according to their website and can have up to 400 puppies at any one time. With this sort of intensive factory farming, it is quite literally impossible to adequately socialise 700 dogs and puppies. The fact is these dogs are deprived of social interaction and environmental enrichment which causes long-lasting psychological trauma to the breeding dogs.

"What this policy will do will be to substantially reduce the euthanasia rate" ~ Roger Perkins PIAA
The killing in pounds will stop when the people that run the pounds change their attitude towards the killing of healthy pets. Buying a puppy from a pet shop has nothing to do with killing rates. To find out more about why healthy pets are killed check out The Paw Project

Being a member of the PIAA does not make the factory farming of dogs ethical and the PIAA policy is a joint initiative between puppy factories and pet stores designed to increase their profits by attempting to fool unsuspecting consumers.