New Code of Conduct misses the critical issues

The new Code of Conduct for pet shop sales has just been gazetted. Here is the link to the document (PDF)

This replaces the current Code of Conduct for Pet Shops. It includes both Standards and Guidelines: Standards are mandatory and Guidelines are recommendations. Breaches of any of the Standards liable to a $200 fine. Section 10 is about the Sale of Animals. For example, the Standards (mandatory) include:

10.1.1 Dogs and cats must not be sold to people less than 18 years of age.
10.1.4 At the time of purchase of an animal, clients must be offered, at no charge, accurate written information on the care of animal purchased.
10.1.5 If within 3 days an animal (except a fish) is not acceptable to the purchaser for any reason, the pet shop proprietor is required to take the animal back and refund 50% of the purchase price of the animal.
10.1.7 If an animal dies or is euthanased as a result of a disease that is traceable to the point of sale and is verified by an appropriate authority such as a veterinarian, the person in charge will refund the purchase price or offer a replacement animal with the same guarantee.

But the Guidelines (NOT mandatory, just suggestions..) include:

10.2.1 The active promotion of desexing for cats and dogs at the point of sale is strongly encouraged.
10.2.2 The person in charge of the pet shop is encouraged to develop relationships with pounds and shelters to broker the sale of these animals through pet shops. This could be through the provision of noticeboards, posters or interactive displays, or the hosting of events at which shelter animals visit the business.

So nothing on the source of Pet Shop puppies and kittens, and the only thing on impulse buys is that written information about the “care” of the animal purchased must be provided.

The REAL issues are NOT addressed, namely:

  • Where are the Pet Shops sourcing their animals? Under what conditions are the parents kept and bred?
  • Pet shops can still sell animals undesexed to anyone (over 18 years) that has money, those animals have babies that are unwanted and dumped at pounds/shelters
  • The lack of proper interviewing of prospective buyers to see if they can provide the right care for the animal for the whole of his/her life…
  • The Pet Shops are still supporting the mass breeding (Puppy and Kitten farmers) into a market that is already flooded
  • The result will still be an excess of healthy animals that the taxpayer via the Pound death row system has to ‘clean up’..

A very small step forward, but not even close to a real solution.