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Dog Theft Amendment Bill

17 November 2022

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I rise today to indicate the Greens' support for this bill that will create separate penalties for the theft of dogs. Over recent years, as the Hon. Michelle Lensink has observed, the price of dogs has skyrocketed. People are regularly paying up to $5,000 for a dog. The new offence in this bill aims to be a deterrent for dog theft, given there is real potential for financial return in theft and then the resale of dogs.

The Greens have long been on the public record advocating for the welfare of animals. My colleague the Hon. Tammy Franks has been a leader in this space in the parliament and has been campaigning for many years to ban puppy farms in South Australia. Indeed, as far back as 2011, the Hon. Tammy Franks presented a petition requesting that this council stand up for South Australian puppy farm dogs and ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops, and in this place the Hon. Ms Franks has regularly called for reform to ban puppy farms.

Again, the Greens reiterate our calls for the Malinauskas government to urgently progress their election promise to ban puppy farms. Rather than pushing often piecemeal reform such as this, the government should be stepping up and taking real action on animal welfare, and we do hope to see urgent action on all of the reforms that they promised in their election policy document to ensure that animals are not needlessly suffering.

I do observe there is an inconsistency between the penalties that have been applied for dogs and other animals. I am reminded of that famous phrase in George Orwell's Animal Farm where all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others, and it seems that there is a different penalty that is being applied to dogs that is not being applied to other animals, and I would like to delve into that a little bit further during the committee stage of the bill. But the Greens are supportive of this reform, and anything that sends a clear message to the community that exploitation of animals is not acceptable is something that we are supportive of.