SPCA supports new Animal Welfare Regulations
The SPCA supports the new animal welfare regulations announced this week by Ministry for Primary Industries and believes they are a win for animal welfare in New Zealand.
“The SPCA has been working very closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries to achieve positive animal welfare regulatory outcomes,” says RNZSPCA CEO (Acting) Andrea Midgen.
“The 46 new animal welfare regulations cover many animal welfare issues the SPCA encounters. We welcome the strengthening of these regulations to protect animals and believe they’ll help improve the lives of New Zealand’s animals.”
The SPCA is particularly pleased with the new regulations around dog tail docking, dogs left in cars, collar and tether wounds, dog dew claw provisions and dogs secured on moving vehicles:
Prohibiting unnecessary tail docking of dogs
The SPCA is opposed to all cosmetic surgeries carried out for aesthetic reasons and has consistently called for tail docking to be prohibited for many years. Many SPCA centres across the country have seen first-hand cases of home tail docking gone wrong, where in some instances euthanasia has been the only option for the dog.The new regulation prohibits tail docking unless done by a veterinarian to treat a significant injury or disease and is a true win for the welfare of dogs in New Zealand.
Dogs left in cars
Dogs left in a car on a hot day can suffer pain, distress and heat stroke, which in severe cases can be fatal or result in lifelong disabilities. Every summer the SPCA receives numerous calls from concerned members of the public about dogs left in cars. For many years the SPCA has run campaigns urging the public not to take the risk. Under the new regulation people leaving a dog in the car must ensure it does not display symptoms consistent with heat stress or will face an infringement offence.
Injuries from collars and tethers
A collar or tether that is not fitted properly can cause injury and distress to an animal, and in severe cases can embed into the neck of the animal. Unfortunately collar and tether wounds is something the SPCA sees far too often, and can require several surgeries and months of rehabilitation for recovery. In the most severe cases, humane euthanasia is the only option for the animal.
Under the new regulations, any damage to an animal from a collar or tether is unacceptable and not complying with this is an offence. Animal owners must ensure the collar or tether does not cause cuts, skin abrasions, swelling, or prevent breathing, panting or drinking.
Dog dew claw provisions
Up until now dew claws in newborn puppies could be removed for any purpose. They are often removed by dog breeders without veterinary assistance. The SPCA has long opposed the removal of dew claws for aesthetic reasons, and supports the new regulation that prohibits the removal of front and articulated dew claws unless done by a veterinarian for health reasons.
Keeping dogs secured on moving vehicles
The new regulation states that dogs must not be carried on the open rear of a moving vehicle unless they are secured or enclosed in a crate, with the exception of working dogs while at work. The SPCA fully supports this regulation, which will help prevent serious injuries or fatalities as a result of dogs falling from moving cars.
The SPCA is an approved organisation, meaning SPCA Inspectors have powers to enforce the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and protect all animals from ill-treatment, starvation and desertion.
So the SPCA Inspectorate is also welcoming the new directly-enforceable regulations, which replace some of the previous minimum standards contained in Codes of Welfare that were not directly enforceable. These will create more tools to help ensure people meet their obligations as animal owners.
“There are instances where prosecution is not possible or appropriate, yet SPCA Inspectors want to have a more formal approach to dealing with animal cruelty. This adds significantly to the compliance options available to our SPCA Inspectors,” says Ms Midgen.
“Previously the only legislative sanction available under the Animal Welfare Act was prosecution which is often not appropriate, lengthy and expensive. The new regulations provide an ability to deal more quickly and effectively with medium and lower level offending.”