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The Master Dog Breeders and Associates [MDBA] is one of a few organisations that holds Applicable Organisation [AO] status in Victoria. This grants MDBA members important exemptions in terms of the breeding and keeping of dogs, and discounted council animal registration. MDBA breeders (as members of an AO) may keep up to 10 (ten) fertile females. If the breeder has any more than 10 fertile females, they must apply for approval as a Domestic Animal Business (DAB) with the local council as well as for Commercial Breeder status from the Victorian State Government (through the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions).
It is important to note that these numbers are a cap set by the State Government and that Local Government (Council) local planning laws may place additional restrictions on the numbers of domestic animals that can be kept on a premises, as well as further requirements or restrictions around use of land for the purposes of breeding. As each local government area will have its own regulations on the use of land for the purposes of breeding, MDBA members who are registered breeders are advised to contact their local councils for further information on local planning laws.
As an AO the MDBA must produce annual reports and other evidence that demonstrate good governance, have in place codes of ethics and rules that require responsible pet ownership and ensure members comply with the Domestic Animals Act 1994, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and all other related legislation and codes of practice. The Domestic Animals Regulations outline in further details the obligations of AO status for both the MDBA and its members.
To be sure we meet these obligations, The MDBA reports to the Minister for Jobs, Precincts and Regions annually on our activities around compliance, governance, the review and application of our codes and rules, and our breeder and member education programs. The MDBA is constantly reviewing our processes to ensure we maintain best practice.
The MDBA and its members are expected to promote and enact high standards in animal welfare and responsible dog ownership, and provide leadership to the community.
PLEASE NOTE THAT VICTORIAN MDBA MEMBERS ARE ALL REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH MINIMUM STANDARDS, WITHIN THE MDBA’s and VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT’S CODE OF PRACTICE BUT ARE ALWAYS ENCOURAGED TO EXCEED THEM, IN STRIVING TOWARDS BEST PRACTICE.
1. To allow traceability of sellers of pets, it is now an offence in Victoria to advertise the sale of a dog unless the microchip identification number of the animal and the breeders Pet Exchange Register number is included in the advertisement or notice. A registered domestic animal business may use its council business registration number as an alternative.
Further information is here.http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/domestic-animal-businesses/breeding-and-rearing-businesses/microchip-numbers-needed-in-pet-sale-advertisements
MDBA Code of Ethics,
MDBA Code of Practice Keeping Dogs
MDBA Code of Practice Breeding Dog
MDBA Code of Practice Sales
MDBA Code of Practice for Heritable Defect Management.
MDBA Code of Ethics
1. At all times and above all other considerations my primary focus will be on what is best for the health and welfare of my dogs.
2. In all dealings under my MDBA membership I will always be straightforward, honest and truthful. I will not knowingly be associated with any information that contains materially false or misleading statements or which are misleading by omission.
3. I/we will comply with all MDBA codes of Ethics and Codes of Practice and rules and all relevant legal and welfare requirements for my locality when keeping dogs, breeding dogs or selling a dog/puppy.
4. I/we will not use the MDBA logo, my MDBA member status or number or my MDBA prefix to advertise or promote any dog that is not registered with the MDBA. (as of 02/08/2017)
5. I/we will never allow anyone under any circumstances to use my member number or my member card for any purpose.
6. I /we will not breed a dog if I am a Companion dog member unless I first become a Breeder member of the MDBA
7. I/we will not knowingly permit any of my/our purebred dogs to be mated to a dog of a different breed, to a crossbred dog, to an unregistered dog of the same breed, or to a dog not on the MDBA registers without prior approval of the MDBA
8. I/We will register all puppies that are live at the time of registration of the litter that I breed with the MDBA.
9. I/we will do nothing which will bring the MDBA into disrepute.
10. I/we will abide by and comply with the MDBA Social Media and Bullying prevention policy.
Code of Practice Keeping of Dogs All Members
1. Members shall ensure proper care for all dogs under their control, whereby:
1. Canine appropriate food shall, at all times, be provided in sufficient quantity, nutritional quality and nutritional balance to meet the daily requirements for the condition, activities, age and size of each dog.
2. All dogs shall have access at all times in their housing area, to a sufficient supply of fresh, clean, water which must be changed daily. All food and water utensils shall be kept clean.
3. All dogs must be housed in a safe and secure manner suitable for the size and containment requirements of the dog and must provide protection from adverse environmental conditions and climatic extremes. Adequate ventilation and sufficient space must be provided for dogs to stand. The flooring area of pens/cages shall not be made from uncovered suspended wire. Each dog older than 16 weeks of age shall have access to a separate bed or sufficient bedding material, ensuring that all dogs can sleep comfortably at the same time.
• A member must, with a high standard of hygiene, keep clean all dog sleeping, housing and exercise areas by removing any faeces, wasted food, or soiled bedding daily. Any material on floors [toys, bedding, food, faeces etc.] must be removed prior to cleaning. Hard surfaces in pens and kennels should be disinfected weekly or more often when required. Veterinary advice for managing the cleaning of premises and management of isolation if a contagious illness occurs in dogs must be sought
• A member must provide an area for isolation for dogs suspected of having an infectious disease or they must have a written agreement with a veterinary practitioner to provide isolation facilities off site at a veterinary practice.
• Isolation housing must be physically separated by an impervious barrier or a distance of at least ten metres from other types of animal housing at the property.
• Drainage from the isolation area must not run through other animal housing.
• Dogs must be maintained in an area approved in the health management plan, with particular reference to the area’s airflow, workflow and cage or pen design.
• All dogs confined in isolation housing must be under the supervision of a veterinary practitioner and a veterinary practitioner must determine when, and if, dog can be returned to general areas with other dogs.
• Cage items, such as bedding, food and water utensils, enrichment items, etc. from isolation areas must remain solely for use in isolation areas and not be used in other areas.
5. A member must ensure that all dogs in a member’s care are provided with an appropriate amount of daily exercise, social contact and enrichment suitable to the individual needs of the dog.
6. A member must ensure that all dogs receive a daily health check which should include examining the dog's physical condition, checking for signs of ill health and that the dog is eating, drinking, toileting and behaving normally.
7. A member must ensure all dogs receive regular vaccinations for the control of contagious diseases. Preventative treatments for internal and external parasites, must be provided to safeguard the general health of dogs. Veterinarian advice should be sought and followed regarding vaccination and worming regimes, parasite control and dental health.
8. A member must ensure that their dogs are groomed regularly especially breeds with a long or thick coat. Care should be taken when trimming a dog’s nails and only be done by an experienced person. Any sign of ill health or skin conditions such as allergies, skin irritations, bald spots or hot spots need to be investigated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
9. A member must ensure that they keep any poisons or chemicals used in the house, garden or work place stored away from any areas which a dog may have access.
10. A member must ensure they take precautions to prevent dogs from becoming sunburned especially dogs with white hair, or white or non-pigmented nose, eyelids or ears such as use of sunscreen, or alternatively keep dogs indoors or in shaded areas during the heat of the day.
11. A member must ensure any dogs which are tethered will be managed in accordance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and Regulations. A pregnant bitch of more than 7 weeks gestation, whelping or lactating bitches with puppies or puppies under 16 weeks of age must not be tethered.
12. A member must ensure that all dogs are transported in a safe and secure manner.
13. A member shall ensure Veterinary care is provided as required in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Private Keeping of Dogs.
14. A member must take all appropriate lawful measures to assist a dog in distress.
15. A member must ensure dogs owned by them or in their care are not a danger or nuisance to the community.
16. A member must not participate in nor support any activity that involves cruelty or damage to animals, excluding legal hunting activities.
17. A member must not train or work a dog beyond their willingness and capabilities. All training methods used shall be humane and not cause undue fear, distress or pain.
18. A member shall ensure every effort is made to rehome any dog that they no longer require or are able to care for appropriately is rehomed in a suitable home.
19. A member must ensure that euthanasia is carried out only by a veterinary practitioner, except in emergency situations.
• In emergency situations, euthanasia may only be carried out under the direction of a veterinary practitioner. Any method of emergency euthanasia must be humane.
• All members must obtain a written certificate or letter from a veterinary practitioner providing approval to carry out euthanasia by the owner stating that permission was given, when the permission was given, why permission was given, and the approved form of euthanasia.
• All members must ensure that puppies 8 weeks and under requiring euthanasia are euthanised by a veterinary practitioner.
Code of Practice Victorian Breeders
1. A member must have their primary focus on what is best for the dogs they own and breed and aim for the best outcomes for the future of that breed(s).
2. A member must ensure quality of life for their dogs, and future generations by a planned process of selection over successive generations.
3. A member must ensure that if breeding dogs are no longer suitable for breeding, or are retired and are to be rehomed, that the dog is prevented from further breeding by transfer to restricted registration, neutering, contraception, contract of agreement or other appropriate means.
4. A member must not breed with a bitch unless she has reached adequate maturity and she is a minimum of 12 months of age, without due consideration as to the wellbeing of the bitch and her offspring and she has passed a pre breeding health screen conducted by a veterinarian.
5. A member should not breed with a male dog unless he is a minimum of 12 months of age and has had a pre-breeding health check with a Veterinary practitioner’s certificate to state that, at the time of examination, the dog was suitable to breed. Male dogs should only be bred once per day and be rested from stud duties at least 2 days every 10 days.
6. All members must ensure that all breeding dogs, both male and female, have a general health check by a veterinary practitioner at least once per year, or more frequently as directed by a veterinary practitioner and prior to their first mating. Proof of the health check may be a Veterinary practitioner’s certificate, stating that at the time of examination, the dog had no impediments to breeding. This may be undertaken in conjunction with the health check.
7. All members must ensure that all bitches have a post-partum health check by a veterinary practitioner, which should occur less than or equal to 8 weeks from birth.
8. All members should retire male dogs at 6 years of age, except where a veterinary certification to indicate the dog is sufficiently healthy to continue breeding is obtained.
9. All members must have a written agreement with one or more veterinary practitioners which describes arrangements for:
1. The use of the veterinary practitioner’s facilities for the treatment of animals; the provision of isolation housing if the breeder does not have a separate isolation housing; and the supervision of animals in isolation who remain in the care of the breeder;
2. Advice relating to the health management plan for the breeder if the MDBA Model Health Management Plan for Breeders is not used;
3. Provision of vaccination certificates for puppies being sold from the breeder;
4. Provision of veterinary assistance for the breeder and the ability for the veterinarian to provide treatment and/or services to the breeder within 6 hours of notification that veterinary attention is required; and
5. A 24 hour contact or treatment or provision of services through an alternative 24 hour veterinary or emergency practice.
10. A breeder shall either:
1. adopt MDBA’s Model Health Management Plan for Breeders, OR
2. develop their own written health management plan that has been formulated and is reviewed annually in consultation with a veterinary practitioner, and meets the requirements for Health Management Plans which are contained within Section 3(5) of the Victorian Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses (2014)
12. A member shall not breed with a bitch causing it to whelp more than five times in its lifetime.
13. A member must not allow first generation breeding (e.g. father/daughter; brother/sister; mother/son) matings. Second generation matings (e.g. grandfather to granddaughter, grandmother to grandson) should not occur without the advice of a veterinarian. [02/08/2022]
14. A member must ensure any bitches which are eight years of age and over at the time of a mating will have a current pre-breeding health veterinary certificate stating that the bitch is in good health at the time of breeding.
15. A member shall take responsible action to reduce the incidence of hereditary diseases in accordance with the MDBA Code of Practice for Hereditary Diseases and shall comply with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, particularly with respect to the Code of Practice for the Responsible Breeding of Animals with Heritable Defects that Cause Disease. A member must be honest and forthright in notifying the MDBA of any genetic or heritable diseases found to be in any dogs they have bred or own and inform other appropriate breeders to allow them to make informed choices in their breeding program.
16. A member must ensure that within 7 days prior to her due date, a pregnant bitch must be moved to a separate whelping housing area or provided with private accommodation containing a whelping box. The whelping box must be large enough for the bitch to lie comfortably while whelping and to accommodate the bitch and her puppies for the first 4 weeks after whelping. Whelping and lactating areas must be physically separate from all other animals and must be maintained at a temperature between 10C and 32C at all times.
17. A member must ensure when dogs are mating, they are provided with an area physically isolated from all other dogs on the property.
18. A member must not sell or otherwise transfer from their care any puppy under eight  weeks of age.
19. A member must ensure that persons acquiring dogs from them understand the requirements for the care, welfare and responsible ownership of the dog, and ensure that the potential owner has the time and facilities, e.g. adequate fences, sufficient room and proper shelter, to fulfil their responsibilities.
20. A member should maintain reasonable contact with the purchasers of their dogs and offer continued advice and assistance where possible.
21. A member must create a record file for each individual puppy born, and maintain this until ownership changes or the animal is deceased. Those records must be made available for inspection by an authorised officer or as directed by the MDBA. Copies of the records must be retained for a minimum of 5 years from date of last entry.
Records to be kept for puppies under 12 weeks of age must include the following:
1. A copy of the MDBA litter registration form, or
3. microchip number
6. date of birth;
7. colour and markings (if applicable); and
8. Dam and sire registered names and numbers and microchip numbers.
9. health care history including vaccination records, internal and external parasite control,
10. purchase/disposal record including name and address of new owner (where applicable),
11. copy of health declaration, and
12. Record of return (if applicable) with supporting documentation.
22. A member must keep records for all dogs over the age of 12 weeks acquired or retained for the purpose of breeding which will include:
Either an MDBA registration certificate, or alternatively:
1. registered name and number;
2. Microchip number;
5. Date of birth;
6. colour and marking (if applicable); and
7. Dam and sire registered name and number and microchip
8. A council registration certificate;
9. Health care history including vaccination records or titre tests, internal and external parasite control,
10. breeding status and breeding history,
11. Purchase/disposal records including name and address of new owner (where applicable), and record of return (if applicable) with supporting documentation.
23. Records of breeding history for dams shall include:
1. dates of mating or artificial insemination,
2. dates of whelping,
3. number of puppies born alive,
4. number of puppies stillborn,
5. record of any whelping complications and resultant treatment,
6. microchip numbers for live pups at 8 weeks, and
7. Post-partum veterinary treatment.
Code of Practice - Sales
1. A member shall provide to all recipients of dogs that are sold or otherwise disposed of written details of:
1. The breed characteristics;
2. Vaccination record and / or requirements including the due date of the next vaccination or recommended timing for next titre;
3. Responsible dog ownership information which includes animal care, worming, feeding, housing, exercise, socialisation and training.
4. All documentation required by the MDBA.
5. Records on internal and external parasite control;
6. Records of microchip number with a signed transfer of owner form;
7. A desexing certificate (if applicable)
8. A written health declaration.
9. Procedures for emergency treatment during the guarantee period.
2. A member must not incorrectly describe nor knowingly misrepresent the characteristics of a breed.
3. A member must ensure that all dogs sold or disposed of are in the best possible state of health and must not knowingly allow any animal that is unwell to leave their care. Where any known physical abnormalities exist, a breeder health declaration shall be supplied which includes details of the known physical abnormality at the time of sale and how that abnormality may affect future health and welfare of the dog. This shall be signed in acknowledgement by the breeder, the Veterinarian and the new owner.
4. Where a dog is returned to a member within 3 days of sale, for any reason not supported by a statement from a veterinary practitioner, the breeder must take back the animal and refund 75% of the purchase price.
5. Where a dog is returned within 21 days of sale accompanied by a statement from a veterinary practitioner that the animal is unacceptable for health reasons, the member must take back the animal and refund 100% of the purchase price.
6. If a dog is diagnosed with, suffering from, dies of, or is euthanised from a physical defect or disease that is directly traceable to the point of sale within 3 years of purchase, the member must, subject to a second veterinary opinion, refund 100% of the purchase price where the owner of the animal provides supporting statements from a veterinary practitioner, including test results where a suitable test is available.
Code of Practice for Heritable Defect Management.
1. When notified that an animal bred or owned by the member has been diagnosed by a veterinary practitioner to have a heritable disease/defect, or provided with reasonable evidence of a heritable disease/defect in such an animal, all breeding from the parents of this animal must stop until the following have been completed:
1. Test the parents, if they are still breeding, where an acceptable test is available, or if a test is not available have the parents assessed by a veterinary practitioner for the defect and
2. Test any existing offspring of those parents still currently residing with the breeder where an acceptable test is available.
3. If one or both of the parents have the heritable defect, genetic counselling must be obtained from a veterinary practitioner prior to continuing to breed with those animals.
4. If any offspring have the heritable defect, a sale or euthanasia plan must be developed in conjunction with a veterinary practitioner and all details about the heritable defect and likely outcomes for the animals and their owners must be fully disclosed to prospective purchasers.
5. Any male and female animal who carry recessive genes for any heritable defect that causes a disease/defect must not be bred together.
6. Provide the MDBA with any information of genetic or heritable disorders or diseases found to be in any dogs the member breeds or owns in order to gather data to help breeders make informed choices in their breeding programs.