Labradoodle breeders appear in court

The husband-and-wife duo behind Tasmania’s largest dog breeding company (Tasmanian Labradoodles Pty Ltd) appeared briefly in Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday on charges brought by the RSPCA related to breaches of the Animal Welfare (Dogs) Regulations 2016.

Elizabeth Anne Bartlett, 66, and Paul Alan Bartlett, 65, have each been charged with 70 counts of breaching section 19 of the Regulations.

Both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

This was a second mention for the case, which is now listed for a further mention on 9th November.

Section 19 of the Regulations states that a person “with care or charge of a bitch must ensure that the bitch does not have more than (two) litters in any 18-month period”.

In a statement released earlier this year by their lawyer, the pair said that ‘“We have been breeding labradoodles for 20 years and have been feeding our dogs a 100 per cent raw diet, which meets their nutritional needs. This way, we can mate them on every cycle.”

(Note: a cycle is approximately six months. Following this process would allow a bitch to be bred 4-5 times in 18 months – far more often than the legal limit.)

The maximum fine for each of the charges is $1,950 (10 penalty units) – in other words, a total of $273,000 if the defendants are each convicted on all 70 charges. The company’s website shows 208 puppies currently for sale, all born over a six month period. Even with discounts, that represents an income of over $2 million dollars each year.

According to Jan Davis, RSPCA Chief Executive, “the RSPCA takes complaints relating to companion animal breeders very seriously. Unfortunately, some breeders may appear reputable to potential buyers but, behind closed doors, their animals are not being given appropriate food, shelter, or veterinary care.”

“The high levels of demand for companion animals as a result of COVID have enabled many breeders to cash in on the popularity of some types of dogs, with no concern for their health and well-being.”

“This is what people need to stop and consider when they are looking to buy a ‘cute’ puppy.”

“People looking for puppies should satisfy themselves that both the puppies and their mothers have been properly looked after. They should not be buying from an unregistered breeder, or from the internet or social media. Go and have a look to make sure the conditions where the dogs are kept are good, and that all the dogs are happy and healthy”.

“If you buy from an unregistered breeder, if you buy off the internet or social media, or if you buy without seeing the puppy is being raised in clean, safe conditions and its mum is happy and healthy, then there’s a chance you are supporting this kind of cruelty,” Ms Davis said.

“Animal welfare concerns are a high priority for all Tasmanians who love their furry friends. The RSPCA urges the government to introduce laws to stamp out intensive breeding of companion animals, and to strengthen penalties for those convicted of breaches of the law.”

Jan Davis, CEO – RSPCA Tasmania
Mobile: 0409 004 228