The McGowan Government has provided $5 million to Guide Dogs WA to assist the organisation to set up a world-class guide and assistance dog breeding program in Western Australia.
This initiative was a McGowan Government election commitment and will help Guide Dogs WA meet the growing demand for assistance dogs in Western Australia.
This includes specialised autism assistance dogs and therapy dogs, dementia dogs and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) dogs.
The funding will assist Guide Dogs WA to establish a number of breeding locations across the State and will cover:
- fit-out of breeding centres;
- specialised staffing costs;
- increasing the fleet of fit-for-purpose vehicles; and
- specialised whelping and puppy equipment.
The funding will also allow Guide Dogs WA to re-establish its cadet training program, to increase the number of local, highly qualified dog trainers in the State.
Having more dog trainers will be critical to meet the increased number of assistance dogs coming out of the breeding program and match the dogs to individuals and organisations in need.
Guide Dogs WA will also commit $5 million towards the program, raised through bequests and donations.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“In the lead up to the election we made a commitment to Guide Dogs WA that we would provide $5 million to assist them in establishing a world-class breeding program for assistance dogs, right here in Western Australia.
“There is a growing need for assistance dogs and guide dogs in the WA community, and helping Guide Dogs WA establish a world-class breeding facility locally will go a long way to addressing that need.
“Guide Dogs WA has also cited a lack of specialised programs to equip the next generation of guide dog trainers, so establishing a cadet training program here in WA will help address that, while creating local jobs.”
As stated by Local Government Minister John Carey:
“Guide dogs and assistance dogs make life-changing differences for people with low-vision, disabilities and other illnesses.
“This $5 million in funding means WA will be able to address our growing need for more guide dogs and assistance dogs locally, rather than sourcing dogs and trainers from interstate or overseas.
“This significant funding will make a lasting difference to the lives of people who experience visual impairment, autism, dementia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.”