Illegal animal farming plagues Melton

By Olivia Condous

Animal adoption rates have soared during the lockdown as demand for pets hit an all-time high, but with restrictions easing and things getting back to normal, rescue groups have had to struggling to cope with stray animal populations.

Melton Paws and Claws Animal owner Melanie Norman said the problem of stray cats was “really serious” in the Melton area.

“Melton is really bad for animal collectors, who have put themselves in a situation where they are trying to save stray animals but they lack the funds to de-sex them,” Ms Norman said.

Ms Norman said more help was needed from Melton Council to provide affordable veterinary services, such as desexing, to reduce the number of stray cats in the area.

“There’s no education there other than the Facebook rescue groups, so people don’t know the laws,” she said.

Households that own between three and 10 fertile dogs or cats and pets for sale are classed as a pet business and must register with the local council and comply with government codes, otherwise they are considered to be in breach. the law.

“What’s happening is called ‘backyard breeding’, people have accidental litters of two kittens, the next thing you know their house is full of 60 kittens,” Ms Norman said.

“You have people who don’t want to have litters, they want to do the right thing but they don’t have access to a cheap vet in the western suburbs.”

The increased demand for pets during the pandemic has also led to an increase in the number of people using scams and illegal behavior to sell pets.

“There are definitely warning signs, like they won’t let you come to their house and they’d rather meet you on the side of the road because they don’t want you to see the misery in which they live. animals,” says Norman.

Melton Community Safety Officer Phil Lawson said illegal pet farming was an ongoing challenge facing the council.

“We’ve put in place a range of incentives and measures to encourage residents to de-sex their pets, including reduced registration fees for de-sexed and microchipped pets,” Lawson said.

“We currently have an agreement with a de-sex clinic where the council subsidizes pet de-sex for all residents of the town of Melton.

“The Council takes the issue of illegal breeding operations seriously, and we have recently had successful prosecutions and raids on properties to help stamp out this type of activity,

“We encourage residents to do their part to stop illegal breeders by only buying their pets from a reputable breeder or through animal rescue organizations.”