Bathurst Regional Council

Puppy farms are businesses built for making profit by mass producing puppies for sale. To do this, they treat mothers like breeding machines, depriving them of love and companionship. A mother is kept alive for as long as she can be kept continually pregnant - sometimes for over 6 years. Breeding a dog each time they are on heat seriously impacts the health of the mother and endangers the health of the puppies.

In Australia, breeders are legally permitted to kill their dogs once they stop producing large litters. This "life" of isolation and confinement is made worse by having her babies repeatedly stolen.

For the mothers, this is a life sentence. For her puppies, life has a price-tag.

The proposed facility in Fosters Valley, Bathurst, would condemn 60 female dogs and numerous males to this miserable life of confinement and continuous breeding. NSW, it's time to catch up with other Australian states.

Councillors, use this opportunity to send a clear message against puppy farming in your electorate.

Sponsored by

To: Bathurst Regional Council
From: [Your Name]

The petition of the undersigned shows:

Australia is a country of animal lovers. We are arguably the world's most avid dog-loving nation. Ours is the highest rate of pet ownership in the world, with dogs by far the most popular choice of companion. The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) estimates that there are 20 dogs for every 100 people. Yet, behind this nationwide adoration for the dog there is a hidden industry built for making profit by mass producing puppies for sale.

The "dog breeding facility" submitted for consideration as Development Application ‘DA2017/394’ to Bathurst Regional Council (BRC) by ‘Rockley Valley Park Pty. Ltd.’ (the Applicant) proposes confining up to sixty (60) females for the sole purpose of breeding puppies for sale at the Applicants Hills Shire pet store ('Kellyville Pets').

Aside from posing significant and avoidable risks to animal welfare, the proposed DA threatens several ecological and environmental amenities or services:

- In NSW, over 1000 native species, populations, or ecological communities are threatened with extinction (NSW OEH 2011). Of these, over 80 are known to or are likely to be located within the Bathurst Region (Mactaggart and Goldney 2012). Aside from diminishing actual population levels, several key processes pose threats to these species and/or communities. For instance, habitat loss, predation, and ecological fragmentation are known drivers of diversity loss. The Recovery Plan for the Koala explains that isolation and habitat manipulation means Koalas "must travel through cleared areas where they are vulnerable" to car collision and dog predation. The proposed parcel of land (Lot 2190) is positioned precariously close to known Koala habitat, with sections of the land adjoining the proposed site known to contain valuable Koala feeding trees. Government records obtained via consultation with the OEH Bionet Wildlife Atlas show the presence of Koalas directly adjacent to Lot 2190. Existing Council documents applicable to the current DA must therefore consider the presence and threat posed to such species. For example, BRCs Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP 2012) is designed to “assist with future planning, monitoring and management of biodiversity in the Bathurst Region”. The Plan cites the quality of Statement of Environment Effects reports - crucial to the DA decision-making process - as a key challenge to BRCs biodiversity management abilities. According to the BMP, although these reports are “submitted in support of development applications," they "vary widely”. As a result, this leads to Council decisions that “may, therefore, be based on flawed or incomplete information” (see BMP: 156-158). To remedy against this possibility, the BMP cites strategic planning (“getting it right”) as a main issue stemming from prior inappropriate land use practices due, in part, to the “limited access [BRC has] to reliable biodiversity data” to inform critical decisions. This premise, however, must be applied contemporaneously. The proposal submitted by the Applicant thereby incurs responsibility on Council to consider the presence of Koalas as it applies to internal Council documents, state or Commonwealth requirements (e.g., SEPP no. 44; TSC Act; EP&A Act), and documentation provided by the Applicant upon submission of the DA (e.g., a Statement of Environmental Effects). State Environment Planning Policy no. 44: Koala habitat protection, for example, hinges upon protecting Koala habitat from ongoing fragmentation and/or potentially damaging development. However, the sole avenue via which Council can obtain evidence on this is via information sourced from professionals with "appropriate qualifications and experience in biological science and fauna survey and management". These components, as well as a Threatened Species Assessment and a Flora and Fauna Report, are absent from the Applicants DA documentation, thereby obliging Council to adopt precautionary behaviour. This is not an unfamiliar concept to Council. BRCs adoption and commitment to ecologically sustainable development within the framework of precautionary behaviour (i.e., BRCs signatory status on the multi-Council Environmental Sustainability Action Plan 2007/08) obliges Councillors to consider the presence of a species listed under both state and Commonwealth legislation when making decisions on DAs (Koalas are listed as Vulnerable under both the state TSC Act and the Commonwealth EPBC Act). Similarly, BRCs Rural Strategy (2008: 15-16) lists Koalas as "threatened fauna" and their habitats as "threatened flora". Given that the proposed site is identified as containing Category 1 bushfire prone land vegetation and high biodiversity significance, approval of the proposed DA presents unnecessary and avoidable risks to the environment and native species populations or communities. Coupled with the known and evidenced presence of a threatened species (the Koala), these considerations suggest the proposed DA is obliged to include a Threatened Species Assessment and a Flora and Fauna Report (EP&A Act; EPBC Act; TSC Act). The absence of such documentation in the DA suggests the Applicant has neglected to adequately consider or is incognisant of the impacts the proposal poses to threatened species and ecologies. Council is urged to consider these components and return a refusal on DA2017/394.

- The amenities of residents is similarly threatened by the ecological and/or environmental impact of the proposed facility. For example, residents may have their livelihoods and/or daily amenities adversely impacted upon by the proposed facilities use of water and its disruption of current systems of use. The proposed site is located within the drinking water catchment and is identified as an area of high groundwater vulnerability. A tributary is located less than 200m east of the proposed facility. This tributary, Davys Creek, is itself identified as a sensitive waterway. These components have not been adequately addressed within the documents provided by the Applicant. Given that relevant Council planning (i.e. Bathurst Regional LEP, 7.14) maintains that "the distance between the development and any waterway that feeds into the drinking water storage" is a relevant component when considering consent, and that the proposed development is less than 200m from such a waterway, the Council must employ a precautionary principle that seeks to eliminate undue risk to citizen amenities and ecological sustainability. Such a principle is familiar to Council (see, for instance, the Sustainability Action Plan, the Biodiversity Management Plan, the Vegetation Management Plan, or the precautionary principles provided for by the EP&A Act). Similarly, the Bathurst Regional Development Control Plan (DCP) cites the protection of water quality as a priority (9.1.2b). Residents may also endure adverse impacts due to the ongoing intrusion of noise. This is particularly applicable to those residents living within 500m of the proposed facility. Given the proximity and nature of the proposed development, the in-situ residents are concerned that their amenities will be infringed upon and believe that Council should reject the proposed DA for the reasons provided above.

The Applicant, Rockley Valley Park Pty. Ltd., would have you, Bathurst Councillors, believe that their presence fills a niche in the lives of the wider community. However, the only hole that this Development Application seeks to fill is the glass display cabinet at Kellyville Pets with puppies for sale.

Councillors, use this opportunity to send a clear message against puppy farming in your electorate.

The petition signers object to the Rockley Valley Park Pty. Ltd. Development Application and ask that the esteemed Councillors of Bathurst Regional Council reject DA2017/394.