The court heard that Peter and Faith Dykstra, of Sandown Alaskan Malamutes, have sold several dogs that have been diagnosed with hip dysplasia and when challenged have told their puppy buyers it's their own fault for feeding the wrong diet. Despite receiving numerous complaints from puppy buyers, they continued to advertise their breeding programme as "15 years free of genetic defects".
Now this one is interesting, as hip dysplasia is undoubtedly multi-factorial. It is increasingly clear that diet and exercise can play a role in the development of HD. But of course that's no excuse for not testing your stock - especially when you're producing a lot of puppies, as this breeder has.
A quick Google search finds a petition trying to close this breeder down, signed by over 6,000 people. It alleges that many dogs sold by Sandown have gone on to develop a number of health and behavioural problems, not just hip dysplasia. There's also a closed Facebook group for those who've bought dogs from them (find it here) and a website with some of the horror stories.
However, the Dykstras were cleared of puppy farm allegations in May 2014 when inspectors found that the dogs were kept in reasonable conditions - although they did have too many and were instructed to reduce numbers. At that time, Peter Dykstra claimed he and his wife were the victim of an vicious campaign of lies and threats that had brought his wife to the "verge of a nervous breakdown". A report detailing the 2014 case, in the Gympie Times , includes this (my bolding):
RSPCA Queensland senior media advisor Michael Beatty said the RSPCA was "only too well aware of" the Sandown Malamutes issues.
"We have attended the facility and found no breaches of the Animal Care and Protection Act which covers such issues as overcrowding, shelter, feeding, adequate shade and water etc," Mr Beatty said. "Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry also attended and they came up with similar findings. However we're also aware that there is public concern over hereditary disease issues.
"I'm afraid that this does not come under our jurisdiction and there is nothing that we can do legally to address complaints of this nature."
And that is still the case legally in Queensland - and indeed the UK, too. The Dysktras have only been caught out because the court ruled that they misled consumers. So although some might see this as a warning shot at breeders who don't health test, it isn't really. The court hasn't told breeders the Dykstras that they can't sell untested stock - just that they've got to be honest with buyers. The court instructed them that from now on they must provide written notice to prospective buyers, at least 48 hours prior to sale, stating that their breeding stock has not screened for hip dysplasia.
It's unclear if the Dysktras are still breeding but if they are, it's probably not a huge concern. There are still lots of idiot consumers who won't give a rat's ass - well until their dog goes lame or starts fitting and who will then blame everyone other than themselves.
You can read the release from the Queensland Government about the case here.