Sunshine Coast Puppy Farm was dismissed after 400,000 objections; the council is preparing for the legal fight
A Queensland council went against its own staff’s advice to dismiss a major dog breeding establishment, while noting that it could trigger costly lawsuits.
- Proposed Sunshine Coast facility rejected, contrary to advice from council staff
- Counselors were concerned about the welfare of breeding females
- Breeder says all of his puppies were born and raised in a safe, clean and loving environment
The plan was filed by Diamond Valley Kennels to have 60 adult dogs inside the facility for breeding and 48 more for boarding.
The facility would also include boarding for 20 cats.
The proposal sparked a storm of activism against the plan and the Sunshine Coast Regional Council was inundated with up to 400,000 submissions sent through the anti-puppy farm group Oscar’s Law.
The volume of submissions was so large that many were blocked because the council’s servers treated the flood of objections as a potential cyber attack.
All but about 4,000 were excluded; only 104 of these included a personal address, which is necessary for submissions to be considered correctly made.
Under the area’s planning rules, animal sitting is a permitted use and council officers have recommended that it be approved on these grounds.
Advisors go against the advice
Deputy Mayor Rick Baberowski brought forward an alternate motion that asked councilors to reject the plan, saying it was not appropriate because of its “location, nature, scale and intensity.”
He and most of the advisers spoke out against the proposal, raising concerns about the potential welfare of breeding dogs on the so-called puppy farm.
Cr Winston Johnston became moved when he discussed the proposal, describing it as an “incredibly intensive farm for dogs”.
“I have no doubt that the puppies that go through this breeding process would likely go to good homes,” he said.
“My concern is which breeding dogs are there and how many there are.”
Council could face legal challenge
Cr Christian Dickson presented a document produced by the council at the meeting which said it would “encourage adoption, not shopping” with regard to animal ownership and endorsed a partnership with groups of animal rescue.
Peter Cox was the only adviser to oppose the rejection, saying he had owned a “designer dog” for seven years.
He warned that rejecting the plan when it met council planning rules meant it would likely face costly lawsuits.
“Don’t end up making the wrong decision,” he said.
Cr Ted Hungerford voted against the breeding establishment but warned that a court could decide to approve the plan but with less stringent conditions.
Cr Baberowski said advisers often had to look coldly at planning issues and not other concerns.
“In the end, it’s just a horrible thing to do with animals raised to be companions,” he said.
After the vote, Cr Dickson said that even if the decision were to be challenged in court, it would still be the right one.
“That’s what people elected us for,” he said.
“If people just wanted us to follow the planning plan and agent advice, there is no need for advisers.
The breeder says all his puppies are “loved”
Diamond Valley already has a dog breeding center on the Sunshine Coast, where it can legally breed a maximum of 32 dogs.
His website advertises that he specializes in breeding “cavoodles, spoodles, miniature dachshunds and other small breeds.”
The dogs available for sale range from $ 3,900 for a Cavalier x Shih Tzu to $ 6,000 for a female mini cavoodle.
Its website states that all of the dogs at the facility are “loved and cared for, with excellent interaction with family, staff and other adult dogs.”
“Our large facility gives them plenty of space to exercise each day.”
He also says he is an approved member of Pet Industry Association Australia, fully complies with its code of conduct, and is inspected annually by the board.
Diamond Valley Kennels has been contacted for comment.