Finley ‘puppy farm’

October 05, 2016

Approval has been given for a ‘puppy farm’ to be established near Finley.

It will be located on Barnes Rd, about 13km northwest of Finley, where a former kennel boarding business operated.

It will be run by Gippsland’s Banksia Park Puppies and a Melbourne pet shop, who purchased the land for $500,000.

News of the new local business venture has caused outrage on social media, with objectors believing it could be promoting the mistreatment of animals.

But Banksia Park Puppies owner Matt Hams said this perception of ‘puppy farms’ is often incorrect.

Mr Hams, who is on the board of Pet Industry Association of Australia and fought for current codes of ethics, says the ‘‘record needs to be set straight’’ about the stigma of puppy farms.

He said misconceived ideas which have aired in the community about his business are misleading.

‘‘A blogger for instance has recently put up photos online of the existing site in Finley, with photos of old cages belonging to the former dog kennel owners.

‘‘They’re saying that these are what Banksia Park Puppies will be bred in.

‘‘It’s ridiculous... we haven’t even moved onto the property yet and that is not our set up or facilities nor will it be.’’

Mr Hams is the third generation operator of the fully licensed breeding business, which has been operating for more than 50 years in Victoria.

He said the decision to expand to Finley follows a looming Victorian law change, which would ban industrial-scale puppy breeding in the state.

Mr Hams said while the approved licence for the Finley farm would allow them to have up to 100 dogs, he said it is ‘‘unlikely ’’ they’ll have that many at one time.

‘‘We don’t anticipate we’ll have up to 100 dogs, we just secured it as it’s always good to have room to move,’’ he said.

‘‘We breed cavalier cross puppies, like cavalier -poodles specifically bred for family pets.

‘‘We don’t breed working dogs or hunting dogs.’’

Berrigan Shire Council development manager Laurie Stevens said prior to approval, neighbouring properties were contacted about the proposed development, both by council and the applicant.

He said no objections were received.

Mr Stevens also said the business development was approved on the pretence it would operate ethically.

He said the proposed venture complies with all New South Wales legislation and regulations.

‘‘We do have to make sure (the puppies) are well cared for and council went through a comprehensive detailed application before we approved it,’’ Mr Stevens said.

‘‘The consent has conditions on it, such as construction of a new shed (to house the dogs), though the applicant has not as yet applied for a construction certificate.

‘‘We would check that its covers and addresses all potential impacts such as odour, food, water, housing — everything.’’

Mr Stevens predicts up to 10 jobs would be created by this new development.

‘‘That would be a boon for this rural area, whether you agree with the type of operation or not,” he said.

It is not clear when Mr Hams intends to start construction or operating from the Finley property.

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