What is a backyard breeder?

Backyard breeding is the irresponsible breeding of animals in inadequate conditions with insufficient care, often by people with little experience or knowledge. When irresponsible breeding is carried out on a large scale, the term puppy or kitten farming is used.

Why is backyard breeding a problem?

Backyard breeders, as distinct from responsible breeders, do not meet acceptable standards of care and breed animals irrespective of whether there is a known demand for the offspring. Backyard breeders often do not adequately provide for all the special needs of the mother and her offspring. Inadequate nutrition, infectious diseases (e.g., kennel cough, parvovirus), parasite infestations (e.g., fleas and worms), behavioural problems, health issues, and genetic abnormalities are common in these situations, placing the welfare of animals at risk. Backyard breeding contributes to the unwanted companion animal population, and results in more animals in animal shelters.

Why does backyard breeding happen?

Backyard breeding may arise due to ignorance or neglect where an animal accidentally becomes pregnant because the owner failed to have them desexed. In other situations, people allow their cat, dog, rabbit or guinea pig to have a litter because they believe it is a good experience for the animal or their children to witness. These are not valid reasons for allowing animals to breed. In other cases, animals are deliberately bred for sale.

How can we stop backyard breeding?

RSPCA Australia is opposed to uncontrolled breeding of companion animals. In some states and territories, laws are being introduced that require mandatory desexing and/or registration of breeders to help prevent over breeding of dogs and cats. 

If you are looking to welcome a companion animal into your family, avoid backyard breeders and puppy and kitten farms. RSPCA Australia encourages prospective owners to consider adopting an animal from the RSPCA or other reputable animal welfare organisation. Consult the ‘Smart Puppy and Dog Buyer’s Guide’ or ‘Smart Kitten and Cat Buyer’s Guide’ for more information.

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Updated on February 7, 2023
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