AUSTRALIA – A man has recently been banned from commercial cat breeding for 10 years after more than 70 exotic Bengal cats, some diseased, were seized at his townhouse.
Kevin Cheng was found to be guilty of breaching the Domestic Animals Act of 1994.
Appearing at Sunshine Magistrates’ Court, he was ordered to stop operating /or working in “any domestic animal business” for a total of ten years and ordered to pay court costs of $26,798, plus a $5000 fine.
However, Mr Cheng, of Point Cook, told the Herald Sun on Wednesday night he would continue breeding cats “as a hobby” — a statement which angered many animal rescue groups.
Nathan Miles, who is the founder of Western Suburbs Cat Rescue, said: “We are disappointed. We had hoped for a much harsher penalty, including a ban on owning any cats.
“These poor cats suffered all in the name of greed and profit.”
There were no animal cruelty charges brought up against Mr Cheng.
Wyndham City rangers discovered his home was filled with pedigree cats — some suffering from cat flu, which can cause blindness — crammed into cages with putrid kitty litters in February last year.
A grand total of 72 cats of “varying degrees of health” were found.
Of those, 52 were kittens and 30 were so sick they that needed to be put down.
Wyndham council director of city transformation Steven Lambert stated: “This is the worst example of a kitten factory that Wyndham City has ever seen.
“Considering the maximum fine available to the magistrate in this case was more than $430,000, council is disappointed a fine of just $5000 was issued.”
However, Mr Cheng is admitting he would continue to breed and import the designer cats.
“I am still allowed to have pet cats and show them and breed for a hobby and no profit, if the numbers are OK,” he said. “I never had any intention of being a commercial cat breeder. I do belong to a cat breeding council.”
Mr Cheng is also claiming he was overseas at the time of the rangers’ raid and blamed his animals’ poor health, putrid cages and cat flu on a “trusted” friend who had been caring for them for a total of 16 days.
With the help of local animal charities, many of Mr Cheng’s surviving cats were placed in new homes.
Jayde Harvey, who lives in Lilydale, adopted Phoebe last year.
“We were told she’d been locked in tiny dirty cages and many others were sick, they had no quality of life,” she stated.
“She’s so beautiful, I’m so glad I got to give her a second chance at a happy life.”