Peekaboo Doggy Day Care owner Janine Pace has urged local dog owners to think again about how they care for pets after three neglected animals were recently brought in by Mandurah rangers.
Ms Pace, who organises and runs training days, pet care information seminars and more on top of running Peekaboo, said dog owners need to take more responsibility for the care of their pets.
Ms Pace recently received three shih tzu mixes with heavily matted coats, signs of mange and unclear breeding.
“The dogs will get their time in the pound, then if they don't get picked up the rangers will bring them in here,” she said.
"Then I'll clean them up, make them all pretty again, and then the rangers come and pick them up. They'll end up in the rescue shelter - they always end up in rescue."
Ms Pace handles cases like this on a fairly frequent basis, and like many grooming centres, pounds and rescue shelters around the state, the problem is only increasing.
She said backyard breeding remains a serious issue, despite governmental attempts to stop the practice.
“We still know of at least three pet stores between Mandurah and Perth that are blatantly selling backyard-bred animals,” Ms Pace said.
“And there is a whole host of issues associated with that. We’ve got dogs coming in with respiratory issues, deformed legs, an inability to eat or drink properly… the owners know their dogs have problems, but they don’t now why.”
Ms Pace said the distinct lack of regulation in the backyard breeding industry was leading to indiscriminate breeding.
“A lot of these dogs, they’re being bred with breeds they in no way should ever breed with,” she said.
“That’s what happens when you’ve got this business model where just anyone can buy a dog online, without any records or details.”
Ms Pace said the City of Mandurah and other organisations were integral to re-homing the growing number of rescued animals.
“The rangers here are brilliant,” she said.
“The pound facilities are perfect - the dogs here are looked after in a nice-warm environment, they're not left out in the cold.”
Despite this, Ms Pace said, the rising number of abandoned and neglected dogs was putting unnecessary pressure on what is a well-designed system.
“The rangers and pound workers, basically everyone involved, they do the absolute best they can do,” Ms Pace said.
“Like us they’re not doing it for anything else then the fact they’re animal lovers. They believe all animals should be looked after, but sadly in a lot of cases that’s not happening.”
Ms Pace said there was a number of things owners could do to improve the quality of life of their pets – including ensuring small breeds’ coats do not become too long, even in winter.
“It’s understandable, the weather gets cold and they don’t want their dogs to be cold,” she said.
“But what a lot of owners don’t understand is that these breeds, traditionally their coats aren’t supposed to be long, so when they do get long there’s issues with burrs, dirt and even mange.”
She said ensuring your pet was desexed and microchipped was also integral.
“The vets do the best job they can, but when there’s dogs which have not been desexed either running around or being sold on Gumtree, it makes their job incredibly difficult.
“A lot of it’s just common sense. There are a lot of people out there who think, ‘I just want a dog because they’re cute, I’ll just buy one of the internet’. But there’s just so many dogs out there who desperately want a home that if you just took the time to look and wait, you’ll be making a big difference.”