Steph Cooke and Keith Duran hold their King Charles Cavalier dogs.
Steph Cooke and husband Keith Duran with their dogs, one of whom is a rescue.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has welcomed the creation of a dedicated squad to weed out companion animal puppy factories and rogue operators.

Ms Cooke said the announcement from Minister Marshall was a clear sign the days were numbered for illegal operators who put profit over puppy welfare, with this new investment from the NSW Government.

“I am the proud owner of a dog that was rescued from one of these unscrupulous operators, her treatment at that place has left her with health issues and trauma, getting her healthy and happy has taken lots of time and hard work,” Ms Cooke said.

“More and more people have been looking for pets during this pandemic, and it’s so important breeding is properly policed so people know their pets come from ethical homes.”

“There are many breeders out there doing the right thing, who breed their animals with care and compassion and have a viable business. There is no place in the companion animal industry for people who aren’t doing the right thing.”

The new Taskforce will consist of four new RSPCA inspectors (six in total) who will spend their time inspecting breeding facilities across the State and ensuring they meet the NSW Government’s robust animal welfare requirements.

They’ll work with NSW Police and intelligence officers, who will be monitoring online and social media platforms to help root out those profiting from the mistreatment of animals.

Under current rules, any breeder found to be doing the wrong thing can have their animals seized, fines up to $22,000 and jail time of up to 2 years per offence.

RSPCA Inspectors have carried out 22 raids so far this financial year (since 1 July 2020) compared to 51 in total for the last financial year.