Thursday, 27 December 2007

2008 & Federal Labor

Puppy wakes man to house fire - A puppy has been credited with alerting a man to a house fire. Tenant Scott Grace says he was woken by the young dog barking before the smoke alarm went off. Don't you just love these stories? There are so many gorgeous stories of how pets contribute to the well-being of their carers.
Thank you to all members who have taken the survey and updated details to our new database. All new members should have received their membership kits in the post. In 2008 Barking Mad will be increasing our work to raise the profile of the domestic dog (and cat) as a contribution to the health and well-being of owners and the community. We are lobbying for a national ID for assistance dogs; especially those that help people with invisible disabilities. One in five Australians has a disability and is therefore protected by the Disability Discrimination Act.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Every Dog's Day has Arrived (again)

Hi everyone. Yes, we're still here. It's been a big week with the assistance dogs campaign, work with transit folks and our presentation to Warringah - where Barking Mad all began. Lots of Sydney members have really enjoyed being able to travel on buses with their pets, though lots of bus drivers are still confused about our right to travel. Today one of our members with an 'invisible' disability travelled to Canberra and back with assistance dog for the first time. Until he came to know Barking Mad, he didn't know he had this right, so he had to make other arragements for himself and for the dog. It was a big pain! No more!
We're working on getting the web updated with all these fantastic stories. If you are a member of Barking Mad and can help out in the office for a day or two, we can do a great swap with our beach-side bush office on the central coast of NSW. We can accomodate up to three people and three dogs as long as they won't eat the one remaining cat in the house. See the members area for more details. Thanks to everyone who attended the Warringah meeting. Barking Mad is establishing ourselves as a powerful lobby and moving out of our 'start-up' phase. It's all thanks to the members!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Death, Apathy & Desire

DEATH: Today we mourn the loss of Lucy, the standard poodle loved by Irene, one of the original members of Barking Mad.
Lucy replaced the irreplaceable Ebony, who died 3 weeks after a diagnosis of cancer after a long life 10 years ago. Lucy brought surprise and joy to her human carers hearts – how is it that a replacement dog can become ‘even better’ than the best dog ever? Lucy lived in the same place and had her daily walks in the same areas for her 10 years. The tick that ended her life was the first tick she ever had.
Lucy died in intensive care, and was calm during her treatment and ultimately in her passing. We really thought she would pull through. These two middle-aged women found a labourer in the local paper to dig Lucy’s final resting spot in the yard she danced upon for her life. As things happen, he too was grieving the loss of his dog to a tick just 3 weeks earlier. His work placing Lucy in her resting place was healing for him. For us, it was restorative of the good of people, especially those who love animals who live a much shorter life than us. We grieve – and we will do it all again, for the love of dog, for the loyalty, for simple pleasures of a wag, a wave and a bark. Donations in memory of Lucy can be made to Sydney Wildlife.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Election 07

Within a couple of days from my previous BLOG entry, Barking Mad received promises from both the NSW government and the new Labor government. We have really worked hard to achieve this amount of focus on a new issue in such a short amount of time. We have three months to lobby NSW Parliament and have started on Federal Labor already. Good dog!

Apathetic or Anarchistic?

APATHY: If you are apathetic, Barking Mad may look anarchistic to you!
We had a very successful day at the Leichhardt event on Sunday and this ‘apathy’ BLOG entry comes from an exerience at this event. Two people visited our stand with their beautiful muzzled greyhounds by their side. If you didn’t know, there is a law in NSW requiring ALL greyhounds, regardless of their temperament, to be muzzled.
I have personally been intrigued by this law as I can’t understand why greyhounds in NSW are different than those in other states where they don’t have to be muzzled. One of the perople asked ‘when will the greyhound muzzling law be changed?’ To which I basically responded something like you have muzzled your greyhounds, so you are stating your acceptance of the law. The response, as expected, was that they didn’t want to get a fine. WELL! If you’re not willing to stand up for what you believe in, then aren’t you part of the problem since you won’t be part of the solution?

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Desire rules the world

DESIRE: Desire rules the world. Have you ever watched a group of adults going from shop to shop because the one toddler in the group says they want an ice cream that is this way or that (place any colour or flavour here). Maybe it isn’t blatantly noticeable, but I’ve seen it happen many times while I’ve sat in public at a café with my quiet dog under the table watching kid after kid drive the adults from one venue to the next. Why? Because their desire for that ice cream (or whatever) is stronger than their parent’s resistance.

This is a Barking Mad strategy as well. It’s proven time after time to work, so we use it and hope you will too.

Please – vote with your membership for common sense and a value of our heritage. The dog and its relationship with humans is a part of our Aboriginal and colonial heritage. The recent election featured an off-lead dog on the cover of the election guide that went to 13 MILLION voters. This is our (election) guide dog!

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Swim between the Flags

On this gorgeous morning, I had my first swim 'between the flags' for two years. I felt so safe! We get this message about swimming between the flags so strongly, yet so many flagged areas, at least in NSW, don't want our family dog with us, even if it is well trained and sits at the shore while we swim. It's madness. The biggest group of dog owners is families with children. It's summer. We want to be able to bring our children and our dog to the beach for a swim. Dogs love it.
Barking Mad had a long chat with the lifesavers who agreed that 'they' (council) make it hard on the 42% of people who own dogs. Pema was welcome at this beach, and it was a beautiful morning of swimming with kids, other dogs and a variety of people. All between the flags. Thanks to the voice of reason - we wish you would appear more often.

We have contacted all the councils in Australia (yes, all 700 plus) to inquire about their provisions to not discriminate against people with dogs and WOW what an interesting lot of responses we have got. We've found councils that don't even have a ranger, several without ANY 'no dogs signs', and many that are not aware of the Disability Discrimination Act. We've found two who are interested in our user-pays, 'extra access' dog registration. (Pay more, get more training, and get more access for you and dog). And, we've found problems with the AQIS requirements to take an assistance animal to Christmas Island. Did you know they are making Christmas Island dog free? We wonder if they have gotten rid of the foxes, rabbits and cats too. We will be adding this to the members area as well.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Stolen Time

SUNNY JACOBS and her boyfriend were falsely arrested and convicted of the murder of two police. She had her baby girl and 8 year old boy with her at the shooting event she witnessed, but did not do. There was no forensic evidence that she shot the gun. The guy who did failed a polygraph and did a deal with the police.

Her juvenile son was held by police for 6 weeks, repeatedly interrogated and never provided with a lawyer. Sunny and her parents could not even locate him or the baby for weeks while Sunny was still expressing milk for her baby in jail.

This amazing woman spent the next 17 years fighting for justice. Finally exonerated of the murders with the real killer identified, it's too late for her boyfriend who was killed for a crime he did not commit in a botched electric chair execution that took 7 minutes and sent flames up from the top of his head. Sunny was not permitted to go to his funeral.

Her parents managed to gain custody of the children and did all they could to shelter them from the media and raise them with love. On the grandparents first 'holiday' in ten years, they die in a plane crash, and the children are subsequently separated until Sunny finally gets out of prison many years later. At an appeal hearing after their death, the drug addict who was bribed to lie against Sunny and whose testimony was crucial to convict her had a heart attack while in the witness box and DIED when she tried to make amends for her earlier false testimony.After 17 years of survival in the US prison system, 5 years in solitary confinement on death row, I read her " inspiring fight for justice" but I am not inspired, I am devastated. I ask, how can this happen? And I ask that over and over and over.

Obviously, I recommend this book. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase trial and error.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Sex, Lies & Witch Bank

INJUSTICE. Barking Mad started because I got a dog then suddenly and surprisingly found out how limited my access to normal, daily activities had become unless I left dog at home. I got the dog when my life and liberty were turned up-side-down due to being defrauded by an agent of a big bank (a bank that ignored my warning) and the bank decided (as it turns out wrongly) to defend their employee. I ended up in a legal battle that is now in year four. I needed a trusted companion and I found comfort and solace in the simple pleasures of life in the company of a smiling border collie. The bank employee was moved out of the bank one year ago, the bank still refuses to admit it, and Barking Mad is one year old and going strong - but REALLY under staffed.

Will Barking Mad Survive?

click and find out

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Members Web Updates

Members - we're adding heaps of juicy stuff to the members pages in the next few days. We've started today with the classifieds so please send yours in. Need your password? Email.We have contacted all the councils in Australia (yes, all 700 plus) to inquire about their provisions to not discriminate against people with dogs and WOW what an interesting lot of responses we have got. We've found councils that don't even have a ranger, several without ANY 'no dogs signs', and many that are not aware of the Disability Discrimination Act. We've found two who are interested in our user-pays, 'extra access' dog registration. (Pay more, get more training, and get more access for you and dog). And, we've found problems with the AQIS requirements to take an assistance animal to Christmas Island. Did you know they are making Christmas Island dog free? We wonder if they have gotten rid of the foxes, rabbits and cats too. We will be adding this to the members area as well.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007


DISCRIMINATION. Barking Mad is concerned. This is not a joke, and this is not about one more dog beach or one more park. Barking Mad works to raise the profile of the domestic dog (and pets in general) in and to Australia.As we research the overwhelmingly positive benefits of pets (primarily dogs) to the well being of some of the most vulnerable members of our community, we are startled with the myths and outright lies people with disabilities are being told about their companion dog in public spaces. Some of this is inevitable as our culture adjusts to dealing with invisible disabilities and because (up until now), we have allowed draconian dog laws to permeate every part of our society. But to someone with an invisible disability who has a trained dog to assist them, each ‘no dogs allowed’ sign is evidence of discrimination. So too is the security guard who chases the person out of the shopping centre and makes a scene. This is just not tolerable.
Over one million Australians live with depression, epilepsy affects up to 2% of Australians and dogs are being used more and more to assist people who are socially isolated or are dealing with an illness.The health and utilitarian role of pets is more accepted than ever, and our financial spend on our pets is growing exponentially. Yet the value of pets in society does not make it into public policy. This is about to change. We are gaining support from peak professional organisations in health and social welfare. Stay tuned and write your letters.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Election 07 website

New web page - please Go there write your letters!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Write a letter for election 07

ELECTION O7 web page added to Barking Mad. Go there and PLEASE write your letters! We are getting a good response to the silly 'one dog per family' law in Queensland. We are calling on Malcolm Turnbull to get rid of the stupid dog line in Bronte (his electorate) and hold accountable those responsible for such madness, and the stress it has caused to many people, particularily the elderly.Your one letter could make a world of difference.Please - if you write just ONE LETTER this election, let this one be it:Email Kevin Rudd -
click here
sample letter: Does the Labor/Liberal Party support the discrimination of 40% of the population? Does the Labor/Liberal Party support policies that deny responsible pet owners access to housing, parks, public transport and taxies? Would the indirect discrimination faced daily by thousands of pet owners who rent be sanctioned by Labor (continued to be sanctioned by the Liberal Party?

  • Do your environmental policies of require the 65% of the population who own pets to drive a private vehicle because even taxis won’t allow them to travel with their pet?
  • Does the Labor/Liberal Party support a one dog per family law in Queensland?
  • Will your party step in and bring and end to draconian dog laws that cause division in our communities and dress up revenue raising as animal welfare?
  • Will the Labor/Liberal Party step in and change the focus to the proven benefits of pet ownership, dispel the ‘health risk myth’ and promote the many utilitarian roles for dogs such as in search and rescue, quarantine, policing, aged care and mental health?

We look forward to a positive response from you; one we can promote to our members.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Our first conference - no dogs!

Tuesday 30th October - Back to our seaside office after a wonderful riverside weekend away with Barking Mad members celebrating our first birthday. Thanks to all those who attended for your encouragement and support. And those who drove up from Sydney through wind, hail and rain - it's a weekend you won't forget soon. All our dogs are tired from endless running for 2 days. We'll always laugh about our Friday night gathering which we quickly made into a NO DOGS ALLOWED affair. How funny! What does this mean? It's not just 'no dogs allowed' that has us Barking Mad, it's that we, as responsible owners, don't get to make our OWN decisions about where it is appropriate it take our dogs.
Welcome to all the new members from our recent Bronte and Frenchs Forest events. You're membership kits will be in the post this week.
Election countdown - HELP! Barking Mad is desperate for office support up to the federal election. If you can assist with administration please contact Thank you.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Death of Louie Ananda 1992-2007

Due to the death of an aged pet (feline), Barking Mad will be unavailable except for media and conference inquiries until Tuesday, 30th October. For these urgent matters, please call 0418 463 360 and leave a message. If no response and you want to attend the conference, please call Riverwood Downs direct on 1800 809 772. Thank you for your understanding.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Bronte Dog Line

We had over 150 people who signed in at our assembly at Bronte this morning and many more who attended. What a show of support and what enthusiasm! It's very heartening to me when people make passionate comments about the role of dogs and pets in their family. One woman's story of the positive effect her pooch had on her family of five children, the fifth being autistic warmed my heart. We'll have that story soon on the family page. We'll get more reports on our two events today later this week - well maybe not because it's time to have a break and celebrate our one year birthday at our weekend away this Friday. It will be nice to be on 700 acres of pet friendly land, swimming, eating and enjoying family and dog companion at one time.

And yes, Zara (below) got home and now we have work with the builders union as people are trying to ban dogs from work sites. That's why Zara walked. For five years she went with her dad to work. Now he was told to leave her home and it's not working for anyone. Zara is the 9th dog I have found on the central coast and all got home without being fined.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Handle every situation like a dog

Thought For The Day
Handle every situation like a dog .
If you can't eat it or chew it,
piss on it and walk away

Zara - found, but with broken laws

Photo: our found girl on the left and Pema on the right.Finally got the dog out for a walk this morning. We found a very cute and well behaved girl dog on the beach without an owner. These are the 'offences' we are 'guilty' of today:

  • no id (our little dog didn't have a collar)
  • not under effective control (I didn't have an extra lead)
  • dog in prohibited space (I went to talk to the lifeguards about her)

There must be more! How about stealing? But then there is the prevention of cruelty act; so had I left her and she was injured, I would have been a party to that by not showing a duty-of-care.

I hope this one act of kindness is an example of how stupid some laws can be if authorities don't use appropriate discretion and look to the bigger picture.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Critical Mass - Legislation Lags

Barking Mad has been assisting members challenging dog fines. We do this when we view the fine as ‘stupid’ because these people are acting responsibly with their pet, but not strictly following what their local council would like them to. We keep winning – and that is actually a problem. We need to lose so we can get these matters to higher courts where precedents are set. If you’re one of the people who has gone through the process of challenging a stupid dog fine, you know how emotionally, financially and time draining it is. It isn’t easy – but is that a reason to be apathetic?

Each time we as dog owners accept something we feel is wrong – be it a fine for dog off lead BUT under effective control (often evidenced by the ability to walk a well-trained dog near a busy road and trust that it won’t bolt into the traffic), or dog in prohibited place because you’ve taken your toddler and your dog to the local playground, we support the dog laws as they stand today.
Many pet owners have no problem with the laws as they are. To them, being a member of Barking Mad has no value; we respect this. The changes Barking Mad proposes will not impact on their happiness. Barking Mad’s short term goal is to have 10,000 members (nationally) by the time the NSW Parliament sits in 2008. Critical mass – it’s a critical philosophy when applied. Legislation ALWAYS lags pubic opinion. That’s why dramatic actions are required at certain times. As a society, we want a human face behind changes in the laws – we don’t want facts and figures. Ask any lobbyist, they will confirm that this is the fact of our society.
If you want more access for you and your dog (or cat) – to housing, transport and public amenities, and you are not a member of Barking Mad, then don’t complain about the current situation. No other organisation in Australia directly represents the rights of pet owners on a state and federal level. Your paid-up membership represents at least 100 votes – it’s a powerful lobbing tool. We have things happening on a federal level and on a state level in NSW and Queensland. Do you really want a law that requires you to leave your well-trained dog at home when you go out on a summer’s night with your family for a meal? What about when your car breaks down and you can’t get a bus or taxi home because you have your dog with you?
Responsible owners will make responsible choices about where they want their dog to accompany them. A funny example was at the first Barking Mad conference on 700 acres of dog friendly space. Within 5 minutes we had banned dogs from our meeting and set them outside to play. This was an appropriate place for them to run free.

Events this Sunday

So much for peaceful jacaranda viewing or planning our conference which is on in 10 days time. We have TWO events on Sunday and what a contrast. We have excellent communication with Waverley Council about the 'dog line' and we have Warringah council basically telling us we are not welcome at their PUBLIC dog event. Wow. Do keep watch at EVENTS as it's updated constantly.

We've given Warringah until 3pm to rethink their decision. Write letters of support for responsible dog owners who will make responsible decisions about taking their dog into public spaces to and

Please consider making a donation to support these campaigns: Barking Mad Bendigo Bank BSB: 633 000, Acct: 1289 10064. Thank you!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Two events this Sunday

We have TWO events on Sunday the 21st so it will be one of those magic things that only new, dynamic organisations can pull off of being in two places at the same time.
Can you help? We really need a few more people for the Warringah Dogs Big Day Out on the Northern Beaches. Email to help - please.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Jacaranda Bliss

The day I spot the first purple blooms on a jacaranda tree is a day I remember as my favourite for the year. These tress are so gorgeous; having loved the colour purple as long as I can remember, I was surprised and delighted when I sailed to Australia from the states (for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race) and arrived in November 1989 - just as Sydney Harbour was awash with purple trees. How spectacular! I was in heaven, and still am living in this amazing country

This year jacaranda day was even more special - and certainly satisfying. Some long-term blog readers may remember that Barking Mad came about because of my simple act of getting my first dog while living on Collaroy beach (May 05) and experiencing surprising restrictions on where I could take my new companion. But WHY I got that dog was because I had been defrauded (big bank involved) and lost my rural business, other property, my superannuation and most of the life I had known and worked towards for 20 years. So, on jacaranda day, I FINALLY found out that a major player in the fraud was finally escorted out of the bank where he worked . Litigation continues and hopefully, some day there will be justice. But, justice or not, we have BARKING MAD and are we ever getting some support and recognition!
It is an absolute joy to work with members who are able to take an active role in our activities. Pet lovers are the best people; KIND people. I love working with pet owners! We are starting to receive donations from people financially and in-kind. That's what we need to change these silly dog laws and it's all starting to happen. Thank you to all of you who have put your faith in this very young and new organisation. Together we will make our Aussie communities more pet friendly!

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Drummoyne Dogs Day

We received great support at today's Drummoyne Dogs Day Out. So many people were shocked to hear about the 'one dog per family' law in parts of Queensland. It was not a crowded event, but we gained more new members than at any other event except for the 1 April beach event at Curl Curl. I think the quietness enabled us to tell people what we were about, what we had achieved, and what we are in the process of achieving -- so they signed up. We got three good sponsorship leads as well. Barking Mad is now an established and mature enough organisation to seek sponsorship; besides, I want to earn a wage! We are seeking a major sponsor of $100,000 + a year which is not much for a national lobby group. Sponsorship for parts of the organisation are also available such as media, printing, web costs, postal costs etc.
A special thanks to Judith, Liliane, Cal, Malc and J for assisting today. That support made it a very enjoyable day. It also enabled Pema and I to enter the BEST KISS competition and yes, we won a much needed bag of dog chow. (Things you just don't know and may not want to know about the Barking Mad founder - but the competition involved Pema kissing the organiser of the event!)

Thursday, 11 October 2007

the media is a harsh (and needed) companion

Up before 6am with phone calls for breakfast radio shows; then a call from Channel 9 to get an event organised with a mass of dogs and people (on a weekday) for a photo shoot with a few hours notice. We did it, thanks to our ever growing team of MAD MEMBERS. Please join us in our October events which include Drummoyne on Saturday the 13th, Bronte then Frenchs Forest on the 21st of October and our celebration and play weekend awy on the 26th

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

The Rat

The Rat story got lost in one of those computer glitches much like those that cause the mystery of the missing sock or the missing pen but it basically goes like this. After being harassed for having my dog in the waiting room of the medical centre where my G.P. is (remember this is a placid, obedient hospital visiting dog who works with children), and being told ONCE AGAIN that it's a health risk (it's not and it's not a legal restriction in the health act), I was so fed up that I asked if they minded about the rat in my bag (which I didn't have) or the cockroach in my pocket.

Yes, I'm sure they thought I was totally mad, but in the mean time while they were talking about the protection of children I had the two most beautiful toddlers crawling all over Pema who rolled on her back and lapped it up. I had a lady next to me being a lot more vocal than me (I was on the phone to the media) saying "What's the problem? We've been waiting her for an hour, this is a beautiful dog and look how happy she has made people."

Photo: I got to see the doc (for sedatives!) with dog sitting outside the treatment room. I was later threatened by the centre management that if I went there again with dog they would call the police. My initial discussions with the police indicated they could only remove us if we were disturbing the peace. Being that our presence contributes so much to the JOY of the people in the waiting room, this could be quite a fun media event.

On the other hand, I'm sick of it. Responsible owners will make responsible decisions about where to take their dog. Had Pema been unwell, unwashed, uptight or smelly, she would have had to be minded outside the centre.

As I had taken THE BUS, where else could I put her? If she got stolen (and it happens) if she was left outside when there was no reason for her not to be with me other than discrimination, the medical centre could be held liable!

So, the short story is that I AM GETTING A RAT. I'm researching them as pets and apparently they can be a good pet. It will be fun to have one in my bag when I get harassed for having my COMPANION dog being my COMPANION. And yes, I'll probably collect the next cockroach that dies near my home and put it in a small plastic container as well. And NO, I am not nuts (and both new pets will not come with us on hospital visits). I just work with LOGIC in a world that would rather make NO SENSE or act on emotion and rhetoric. If my dog was an unacceptable risk, then I wouldn't have her. And that is the rave for the moment...

Sunday, 7 October 2007

A new Bite - the third!

The third issue of our newletter, The Bite is now out. We are very, very proud of this edition and keen to hear your comments. If you would like a hard copy sent to you, please send a stamped self addressed envelope to Barking Mad at PO Box 310 Woy Woy, NSW 2256. We are seeking SPONSORSHIP - a donation of say $600, to send copies out to all members and vets in the areas where we have active campaigns

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Best Trick

If you missed the brilliant Pet Show at MacMasters Beach (Central Coast, NSW) this year, mark your diary for the October Long Weekend in 2008. (5 October 08)
Pema won best trick and placed second in the dog/owner look-a-like and I'll never wear that dress again!

Monday, 1 October 2007

Our Pets, Our Vets

Is your vet a member of Barking Mad? If not, WHY NOT? Individual membership (even when we attain our goal of 100,000 members) will not sustain the work of Barking Mad. If you think you spend a lot of money on your pets, well trying hiring a pack of lawyers. Talk about meat eaters!

We need the financial support of the pet industry to keep Barking Mad a-rocking and a-rolling. If your vet employs 6 people (and less than 99), membership is just $110. I bet every paid up member has a vet, so please, have your vet become a member as it will raise the profile of Barking Mad even more.

EVEN MORE - we are on a roll (see Hot Dog below). We are taking on Queensland (yes, the state of Queensland) for their one dog per family law that has caused many a person to make the comparison with China's one child per family policy. Although these QLD councils have not implemented this policy to reduce the pet population, as we all know responsible pet owners are, well, responsible.

We think it is revenue raising combined with small-government syndrome (SGS), dressed up as animal welfare.Write to the new Premier at .and ask her to stop this policy madness now. Half of Queensland population growth is from NSW and Victoria and 20% of dog owners have more than one dog. (The 'policy' is revenue raising because you can pay an application fee of $300+ to have someone decide if you can have more than one dog.)

SAY IT FAST: Health Risk Myth.

DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE MORE REFERENCES TO HOT DOGS than to our canine friends in the Food Acts of NSW and QLD?

I am Barking Mad from people telling us that 'dogs are a health risk'. I'm going VISITING in the hospital WITH my dog to give patients a moment of doggie-love. If dogs are a health risk why aren't the 42% of dog owners unwell? Why do we repeatly come up 'above average' in the health surveys?

  • Did you know that our Federal Government FUNDS dogs visiting patients?
  • Did you know that WALKING THE DOG (yours or your neighbours) is part of the NATIONAL HEALTH STRATEGY?
  • Visit the new HEALTH page (click here) and debunk the health risk myth.
    NSW Parliament is sitting and we are ready. Read about our proposed amendment to the Companion Animals Act here (members area).

Monday, 24 September 2007

Progress Pets

MacMasters Beach Progress Hall PET SHOW - this Saturday, 29th Sept. for members in the Sydney/Newcastle region. Prizes for Most Unusual Pet, Pet/Owner Look-a-like, Best Dressed, Best Groomed, Best Party Trick and THE FASTEST SAUSAGE EATER! $2 entry per category,. More info, email

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Dog event in no dog park

Newcastle Dogs Day out was HUGE - and held in a no-dog park! Shows just how much discretion council has. Our community could be very dog-friendly now, without a lot of changes to the law. They just need us to support them to offer us access to parks, beaches and public space in general.
We handed out hundreds of cards, signed up new members and made a few friends in the industry and in government. A successful and beautiful sunny day by the sea.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Louie is Alive

I couldn't put him down, it's not his time yet.

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle...Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way." I. Townsend
Louie, at age 15, continues to live on - with dementia and a caring family of human minders and he loves living with Pema the border collie.

Monday, 17 September 2007

We are preparing for the beach dog walk and surf club fund-raiser at Bar Beach on Sunday. We had an interview on Newcastle radio this morning thanks to one of our members. We have great support in the Hunter Region of NSW. Hope you can visit the Barking Mad stall this Sunday.
We are a tiny bit distracted - between all the work of Barking Mad, this may be Louie the cat's last night. He is 15...... so it's a sad time as most pet owners can relate to. We know what it is like to lose a pet..

Buzzz . . .

It was a week ago that I woke up early, ready do the 40 metre commute to the office when I heard this amazing noise amongst the quiet of my sea-side bush. I mean BUZZ. What sort of power tool is that? Why have they started before 7am? Where is it from? Was it a power tool? Nope. IT’S SPRING.
The massive Ash tree is a-flower and wow, does it have company. These BEEs are VERY BUSY BEES - just like Barking Mad, except we work all year around AND day and night.
We've added QUEENSLAND campaigns and hopefully have a state coordinator there again. There are some really STUPID dog laws out there.
Did you receive your membership email? That email system costs us a small fortune ($250/month) so I hope it's keeping you informed and happy. We're off to court tomorrow again trying to finish up the litigation that gave birth (so to speak) to Barking Mad. After being defrauded three years ago, I decided to get a dog and the rest is history. So too is my win in court, but have they paid? NOPE. Does the court care? Doesn't seem to, but we'll see. Pema now goes to court with me as they can't find any reason in the Court Security Act to stop her and my judge doesn't mind her in his court. Here is a photo of us waiting for the Sherriff to let us in. So far we've been in three different courts and not even for dog things (yet).
What else? We are busy writing ammendments to legislation for the next session of Parliament in NSW (hopefully).
My 16 year old cat exhibits a zest for life and a quest for death alternatively at least 10 times a day. I'm sure there is a story about compassion and responsiblity there, but now he takes a lot of my emotional energy. Pets are really about caring; we are caring people. It's not nice when we're made out to be criminals because we have (legal) companion animals.
And Pema had a great time at Circular Quay after our last court date making a lot of people happy and creating a warm, social atmosphere in a tourist venue. And how funny to meet a scottish couple with a busines back home called Barking Mad!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Poster Puppy

Isn't our poster puppy on the home page gorgeous? You can have yours as the next poster pet, just send us a good quality photo.

Peaceful co-existence with moments of tolerable but utterly frustrating annoyance. It's not my quote, but it sums up what Barking Mad is trying to achieve. Can we achieve peaceful co-existence in our community with the wide variety of people and vast range of preferences people have? Leaf blowers, loud parties, graffiti - different activites both legal and not, driving us crazy - but only AT TIMES.

I always considered myself a cat person (providing they were kept in at night). But no more - dog crazy I now am, even those little snappy yappy ones. How did this happen? That dogs are preferable company to the human male is one theory, but we won't go there. I happened upon a rescue border collie 2 years ago when she was 18 months old. Two things resulted from having a canine housemate for the first time. One, I found out how limited my recreational and transport options were in Sydney if I wanted to have my dog with me. And two, I found myself interested in lots of other dogs breeds, and curious about why the people who now talked to me on my walks (JUST BECAUSE I HAD DOG) choose that particular breed. How do we love our pets? 'Let me count the ways'. The stories people share about how they came to love their particular dog, be one that farts, chews, snores, drools or slobbers, or one that is so old it is no longer house trained – or one that has cost them $3000 from injuries; the commonality is caring and compassion.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Mile High Dogs

Photo: Travelling with pet dog at Venice Airport.

But not everyone likes dogs, and we can't expect them too. Some like obedient, quiet dogs. Some don't mind the yappy ones. Some people think they shouldn't be kept as pets.
Lots of Barking Mad members tell me they don't understand HOW people can not love animals. I'm told almost daily about the direct correlation between cruel treatment of animals and cruel treatment of humans.

I think it is our obligation as responsible pet owners to accept and understand some peoples dislike of man's best friend. As we understand more of our rights, and as we do expand our access to more beaches, parks, transport and accommodation, no doubt the opposing view will be aired as well.

On the subject of RIGHTS. We have so many more then we are led to believe! We have new information from NSW Lands about Council's legal right to fine us (or not) on the beach below the High Water Mark. We have an interesting clause in the discrimination act referring to a 'trainned' animal. We have the railway dog (and goat) carriage rules. We have Manly Council actively allowing dogs within 10 metres of a playground even though this is 'an offense'.

There is simply no reason to put up with draconian restrictions about where you can take your pooch any more. Change is never easy and we are working on it several ways:

  • changing legislation (hopefully in the next session of NSW Parliament)
  • challenging restrictions in court or with whatever authority put this in place
  • debunking myths about 'hygiene, health, food' etc.

Most importantly, by being responsible with our dog when we are out in the community. Sure, some people may say I'm not be responsible to society when I travel on the bus with Pema - because I'm doing something that many people think I "am not allowed" to do. Well - they are wrong, I am allowed, but I don't have to change their view. I make sure I have a clean and quiet pooch that doesn't take up a seat, bark, slobber or wee. If someone takes the seat next to us and doesn't want to be by the dog - I'm the one who offers to move away.

Summing up - assert your rights, respecting those people that may not respect you for doing so.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The Bus

THEY TRIED TO STOP US FROM TAKING THE BUS. How rude! The bus driver was so confused when I told him Pema was a registered companion dog - he then said it was ok, but he wasn't happy. Scroll down on the public transport campaign section for the story. We were going to see our barrister, how funny. Yes, we got on the bus, of course, after a vote from the passengers FOR the dog.

Get your COMPANION ANIMAL ID TAG from Barking Mad for just $35. Email us a photo of you and your dog, 300k max size. Post or scan your pooch registration. If you want your insurance details on the tag, scan or post your home contents policy. Send me details.

Apec dog because sniffing is allowed

We're off to the CBD with a freshly washed pooch to visit two of our barristers. Should be interesting with the APEC stuff, but we also need to trial Sydney buses more. One member was denied access to two northern beaches buses with her small pooch; both buses were nearly empty. She couldn't remember the protocol to tell the driver - the code number and to call the depot on the radio, so she didn't get her lift to Manly Dogs Day Out. Very sad. So, we're going on a few buses again.

The Pittwater and Warringah campaigns are launched - do check the Act Now section, write your letters and you can send money, too. We're waiting on the judgment where the magistrate was less than complimentary about Pittwater council dog laws.
And, we're on Pet talk TV and radio, so check out what we have to say.....and, what Manly Council (one of our favourites) said!

Companion Animal ID Tag

Get your COMPANION ANIMAL ID TAG from Barking Mad for just $35. Email us a photo of you and your dog, 300k max size. Post or scan your pooch registration. If you want your insurance details on the tag, scan or post your home contents policy. Send me details.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Two beautiful, sunny warm days and a spectacular lunar eclipse have passed. Throughout Monday of this week, I listened in amazement while (independently) four pet owners from three states came to Barking Mad with upsetting stories of discrimination. I struggle to come to grips with the distress these situations cause people AND the fact that they are not alone. So many people trying to live a normal life in our 'fair-go' society get, well, crapped upon, just because they have a pet; and I'm talking about 'responsible' pet owners who accept that pooch or puss needs to fit into society.

The stories:

  • Several Queensland local government areas limiting a family to one dog unless they can afford a house on land over 600m2 - by law! (but you can have 5 racing greyhounds).

  • Renters in Albury NSW not being able to find a home because they have a dog.

  • A member in Victoria who has lived in a strata complex for ten years with her dog and who is just now being told it can't be outside.

  • And, locally in Sydney, a member being refused access to a bus on the Northern Beaches twice in one day.

Perhaps it sounds like four incidents to you, but Barking Mad is involved in so many matters concerning housing, it's a shock. We need more help to handle things - email or call if you can volunteer your time or money. Please listen to our Pet Talk Radio interview - and you can even watch the video - but it's not very exciting!

LENIN BAR CIrcULAR QUAY PHOTO: We are busy writing ammendments to legislation for the next session of Parliament in NSW (hopefully).
My 15 year old cat exhibits a zest for life and a quest for death alternatively at least 10 times a day. I'm sure there is a story about compassion and responsiblity there, but now he takes a lot of my emotional energy. Pets are really about caring; we are caring people. It's not nice when we're made out to be criminals because we have (legal) companion animals.

And Pema had a great time at Circular Quay after our last court date making a lot of people happy and creating a warm, social atmosphere in a tourist venue. And how funny to meet a scottish couple with a busines back home called Barking Mad!

Monday, 27 August 2007

One dog per family in Queensland

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING !!! I have heard the most amazing stories of discrimination today with transport and housing. This Gold Coast (insert expletive here) is true - have a look at Gold Coast City Council. Dogs are pack animals. Dogs are in Australia's heritage. Dogs are surf-lifesavers, police assistants and damn good company. It is as nonsensical to try to impose a one dog limit as it is to impose a one child limit in Australia. We must get Costello to call for one dog for the mother, one for the father and one for the country. Or more accurately:one rescued from an owner that couldn't get the dog to the vet because the bus wouldn't let him on with pooch, another rescued from Nanna because she was harassed about having a dog in the strata unit she downsized to after the death of Papa, and the third taken off of a back-yard breeder after the selling of live animals at pet shops was stopped!
The transport story is posted in the Act Now section of the web. Click here to read about puppy with broken leg having to walk 3km after being refused entry on a bus with his caring owners.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

A great day at Manly Dog's Day Out - but at least two council people did not like that were were there, and that we were supported by the awesome dog and cat store, PetO. They harassed PetO for having the Barking Mad folks and brand - telling them they couldn't after they had paid for their stall! Council said only ONE brand could be represented.
PetO is a retailler - they (unlike Woolies) don't have their own brand yet. They sell many brands, including Barking Mad. What a show of fear by Manly Council. Most other stall holders were selling multiple brands, including Seaforth Vet (our neighbours) who were selling products and services, just like Barking Mad and PetO. We are waiting for an offical statement from Manly Council before we issue a press release. We have had a good relationship with Manly Council are we are supportive of the work they do to incorporate companion animals into their community. We would like to keep this positive relationship.

Monday, 20 August 2007

United we Stand, Divided we Fall

Have you clicked on the campaign section of the web that has just been added? Don't miss the deadline to express your views to Pittwater Council about Makerel Beach. This campaign has some very big legal issues that could work strongly in our favour - to end the discrimination of responsible pet owners.
I can't believe we have so much happening in so many different places - and not all the campaigns are uploaded yet. Where is that web content editor we need so badly? (work for us while not increasing your taxable income!).
United we stand, divided we fall. This is my mantra as I think about all the people, all over Australia, who have to fight to have ONE dog exercise area, or ONE place to swim their dog. Although this is a phrase that is hundreds of years old, and was used successfully by Ghandi to obtain the independence of India, it is as relevant today to Barking Mad as it was to those before us.
NIMBY: not in my back yard - so many people work so hard and achieve success in their little area for ONE dog beach, or ONE dog park. WE NEED TO UNITE so that we avoid these one-off, one-small-area, one-dog-beach-please fights. The laws restricting responsible pet owners from parks, beaches, transport and accomodation have NOT been challenged. That means they are fair game. They are not tested, they are not robust.
Please - if you are running a local campaign, come to the Barking Mad pack. Your local council does not MAKE laws. They are the meat in the sandwich. The states makes laws and we currently have excellent support in the NSW Parliament. We hope to have our cause debated within the next two months.

Please - if you are running a local campaign, come to the Barking Mad pack. Your local council does not MAKE laws. They are the meat in the sandwich. The states makes laws and we currently have excellent support in the NSW Parliament. We hope to have our cause debated within the next two months.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

City CBD Dog

In support of Clover Moore's amazing work to make the City of Sydney dog-friendly, (read their policy here), Pema and I went into the CBD for a day's work. We went to St. Vincent's hospital first. In the lift from the carpark I was told that my dog was a health risk. I asked, then why are sick people in the hospital and we are out here? (Pema is a hospital visiting dog, anyway). And is she more of a risk than I am having just had the flu and a major stomach bug? NO ONE CAN TELL US WHAT THIS 'HEALTH ISSUE' is about dogs - and why guide dogs ARE NOT a health issue.

It's a myth and Barking Mad is debunking it - stay tuned for our report.We had a conference with one of our solicitor's - we have so many interesting cases. In a crowded legal office, Pema had a snooze under a desk. I must write up the case of the dog being fined when crossing the beach from a boat to a water-access home. It was thrown out of court last week, with a slap on the wrist to Pittwater Council, who the Judge was quite critical of. We need more cases. If you were fined for being responsible (but illegal), we can help you contest it.

While crossing the road at a busy intersection, my dog broke the law - AGAIN! She was interested in a border collie-x walking across from the other direction. This dog was interested in her, too - so they BOTH broke the law because they RUSHED at each other. Yep, rushing at any person or dog means the owner is guilty of an offence. Strict Liability - meaning the REASON it was lunging isn't relevant. Check out this silly law. Both dogs were on leads, the other folks in the crossing thought it was cute, I thought the dog AND its' owner were cute. All-in-all it brought a smile to a few bleak faces on a windy, cold day.

We then went to District Court and Pema went through her first x-ray machine. I've been in court for years now because I was defrauded from a business and my superannuation. That's why I ended up getting a dog and that's when I realised I was limited in where I could go and that's why I started Barking Mad! This was Pema's first visit and she was a big hit with the registry folks on level 9.

Then to the bank where she wasn't even noticed tied under the table just inside the doors, while I did business there for 20 minutes. (5 minutes of business and 15 minutes of waiting). We had a rest in Hyde (Australia's first) Park, welcoming the lack of 'no-dogs' signs. We also had a look at the Anzac Memorial. Then off to our 5 star hotel for the Barking Mad top-dog, top-drop thinking and drinking (board) meeting. After nearly two hours, we were kindly told that no dogs were allowed, so we moved Pema to the car to wait. The management at this hotel will talk to us about the pros and cons of being a pet-friendly hotel. They are very supportive of Barking Mad and what we are achieving.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Roads, Rates & Rubbish

Back in Australia where I think local councils should go back to their mantra of rates, roads and rubbish and leave us responsible dog owners to ourselves. Do they have 'small-government-syndrome' or what?

I attended our local board riding competition this morning – yes, at the beach, WITH the dog. 40 kids, 30 adults, food cooking away on the BBQ, 2 marquees and 15 dogs, most off-lead. WHAT THE? Food and dogs and beaches, surfers and kids – all mixing. All with a permit issued by a sensible central coast council.

To Sydney councils – wake up and service your ratepayers. More homes have dogs than kids; you have a legal duty to provide us with equitable services and you can’t just say ‘no dogs’ on the beach. You can't tell mothers not to take their toddler AND their dog to the playground. You can’t just wipe out the amenities of half of the population in one sweep. We will not tolerate this discrimination. We will work with you if you wish, otherwise, we will mount a legal challenge that will cost your ratepayers dearly. Get sensible – go after things that have a real risk factor. (rave over – off to play café-dog games in the Manly Council turf).

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Eating Dog

In the land where they eat dogs - Viet nam - a surprising number of families keep a pet dog. Most of these dogs are kept well, and funny how they hang around the dining table and the kids - and the beach - and the tourists and no one makes a fuss. I haven't heard one bark yet - so different from the constant barking of dogs in Nepal. They are quiet, passive and friendly dogs - none of them jump on you. Maybe it is just too hot! We're investigating if some of these may be sold - when the dog catcher comes around. Not really the dog catcher as we know it, but a talent scout - for DINNER. Most dogs that are eaten are farmed, with similar disregard to their suffering as we have for many of the animals we eat in Oz. {think 8 week old roaster chicken who lived it's life in a space no bigger than it's body}. We've heard there is a dog catcher who will pay when they take dogs; likely from poorer families, but we haven't confirmed this yet.

THANK YOU to all new members - please keep signing up and remember that your 'paid up membership counts for at least 100 votes when lobbying government. It is a much stronger tool than a petition.
Just found a cool article on us at Dogs Australia

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Gone Sailing

Most of Barking Mad is having a break to warmer shores and will return by 10th August. We'll be in limited contact. Please be patient with your inquires and we'll be back soon.

"We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are" ~Tobias Wolf

Saturday, 21 July 2007

21 July - OK and SORRY. I haven't yet written up the review of the brilliant Animal Law Conference yet - but we finally got the membership kits mailed! Thoughts from the conference are still prominent in my head. I've been thinking about how Australians love and adore our companion animals, yet allow the massive suffering of the animals we eat and export. I think of the pigs nursing piglets in sow stalls in which they can not move, or the chickens we eat having lived their whole life in a cage on a space of an A4 sheet of paper, never seeing daylight, never flapping their wings, and killed to be grilled by 12 weeks of age.

Barking Mad will continue to be a single-issue-party on the issue of ACCESS for the majority of Australians who are responsible pet owners; however, we are continually made aware of many other issues involving animals. More to come...just not sure when.
A big weekend working on memberships and the web. The patience and dedication of those who act on their beliefs is inspirational. Thanks to all who offer to help, I'm working on getting everyone involved and organised. For those in Sydney, I hope you can attend a meeting Tuesday afternoon (the 24th) - we may have phone links for those out-of-state. Be sure to send in your comments for the members section of the web, including any classified adds you may have. We had a great trip on the bus yesterday; it certainly will make life easier for those who don't have a car or choose public transport.

The good news is that we have a (NSW) state member willing to table our policies and issues. We have additional legal representatives to support our challenges to the existing laws. We have new information to help renters. We have people ready to take Barking Mad forward in South Australia and Queensland. CAPACITY PLANNING - I was asked once how I was preparing for it and the answer was, as the fact is, deal with it when it comes. It has arrived - HELP!

Capacity Planning - or HELP!

A big weekend working on memberships and the web. The patience and dedication of those who act on their beliefs is inspirational. Thanks to all who offer to help, I'm working on getting everyone involved and organised. For those in Sydney, I hope you can attend a meeting Tuesday afternoon (the 24th) - we may have phone links for those out-of-state. Be sure to send in your comments for the members section of the web, including any classified adds you may have. We had a great trip on the bus yesterday; it certainly will make life easier for those who don't have a car or choose public transport.

The good news is that we have a (NSW) state member willing to table our policies and issues. We have additional legal representatives to support our challenges to the existing laws. We have new information to help renters. We have people ready to take Barking Mad forward in South Australia and Queensland. CAPACITY PLANNING - I was asked once how I was preparing for it and the answer was, as the fact is, deal with it when it comes. It has arrived - HELP!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

We have tele-communications again! Broadband has returned to Barking Mad. New members - your memberships are now being processed and you will receive your membership kits early next week. The member's area of the site is being revised. Send in your member notices for events or other classified adds.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Laws - really?

brought my lovely companion dog Pema with me into a local shopping centre today to test the NSW law that this is 'not prohibited' (i.e. 'legal') if I'm on the way to a pet shop, vet or similar establishment. What an amazing response we had. As I sat on a bench with Pema lying at my feet, people wanted to pet and chat to her, but between this socialising, one shop attendant told me he would be fined if the dog was there. I tried to enlighten him on legal-ease, but he was not to be enlightened. Pointing to the 'no dogs' sign on the door, he raved. Security was called. They were willing to be enlightened a bit. I invited them to call the police. Shortly later, a cop walked by, glanced over and went on his way. Pema was bored and fast asleep by this time. The 'no dog' sign appears to be a blatant violation of law. If it was REALLY about DOGS, then assistance and guide dogs would be prohibited too! Let me just say it was a quiet time at the shopping centre. Pema was on a short lead, our presence would have caused no impact had shopkeeper not gone off his face. Even then, our impact was minimal. The outcome is: the owner of the shop we were going to now understands the law (as written) and will have a chat to the off-his-face cafe person - and next time we will have an assistance dog with us AND the media.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Because I have a dog, I have a community.

Pema and I have been welcomed with open-arms to our new, small beachside community on the Central Coast of NSW. Having moved numerous times in my 40+ years, I have never had so many welcoming chats and invitations within the first week of arriving somewhere - and I've never had a dog when I've moved before.

At the beach this morning, rugged up with hat and scarf, the sunrise was welcomed by the human walkers, but probably unnoticed by the 10-12 dogs who were blissed-out on their morning jaunt. Since Pema is the new girl in town, I keep her on a lead while she gets to know the residents. Once the butt to nose dance is completed, she is free to romp with the other mutts. Meanwhile, those dog owners tell me about the community, about how dog-friendly they are, about the lake and the lagoon (and the flooding), about the best cafe, the Saturday routine of walk than coffee, and they introduce me by name to other dog owners.

We are indeed a social bunch. Many Sydney folks tell me they know other folks by their dog's names, but often don't know the 'owners' name. Thank you to everyone who is working with Barking Mad to make our place as pet owners in the wider society more welcoming. A brisk beachside walk in 9 degrees with playfull pooches (combined with Warrigah Council's 'dogs and beaches don't mix mantra) is all I need each day to keep lobbying and mounting legal challenges for a fair-share of public space.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Dog Friendly Beach

Moving! Barking Mad is relocating to a home/office in the bush 100 metres from a designated dog beach. What bliss for dog and owner. Telecommunications are proving to be slow - so we will be on dial-up only, and limited mobile coverage, until Telstra Next-G kicks in sometime next week. Thanks for you patience. New member kits are late - next week, promise

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Top Drop Top Dog Drinking and Thinking Board

Members old and new - Welcome! The Barking Mad Top Drop Top Dog Drinking and Thinking Board is meeting on the evening of the 18th of July somewhere around Sydney city. We have much to sort out having just had abundant media coverage and excellent support from many (NSW) State members. We also have engaged coordinators for Victoria and Queensland and have interest in South Australia. If you can attend, email

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

My heart is joyful and my eyes have feasted on the breathtaking beauty from a simple dog walk on Umina Beach. Happily working on the computer this morning between radio and print interviews, the puppy Pasha decided that I had done enough. A walk was required to save the house from puppy destruction! Off to the beach we go with Pema, to the south end of Umina.

What a glorious day! Warm water, one gentle surf break just in front of the surf club and the warm westerly wind flattening the rest of the bay. Puppy had an abundance of children to play with due to school holidays and the proximity of the caravan park. Pema had 20 dogs to play with and I got to talk to about 5 different people - what joy! Why are Sydney people denied this pleasure of walking dog on the beach?

Monday, 2 July 2007

Barking Dash Mad

BARKING HYPHEN MAD or should we be BARKING DASH MAD. Are we a dash mad or does the hyphen represent the dog lead? Either way, we are at AND AND (may change that to poo on my shoe....) Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Page 3 of the Herald

Herald page 3 - Thanks to all the members who contributed to this article. Thanks also to all the members who 'put their money where their bark is' and support the work of Barking Mad to increase our access to parks, transport, beaches and accomodation. If you are a responsible pet owner who wants a fair-go, please join us.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Members Web

Barking Mad is busy behind the scenes. We are in discussion with four NSW ministers taking up the issues of discrimination and social disadvantage that the current anti-dog laws foster. Talks are going very well. The Member’s Area of the web is growing and all the juicy news on the rights you REALLY have (not the ones that your local council may want you to believe) are in this section. We're involved in challenges for several of our members including dogs prohibited in unit dwellings, penalty notices issued outside of juristiction or improperty and harassment or targetted campaigns by rangers.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Campaiging and the Law

We have received the latest guide to rights and responsibilities for campaigning and the law in NSW. Very handy stuff and available to loan to members.

New Web Pages

Thanks to members for two new web pages: How you can help now and member comments. Check these out and be inspired by the dedication and creativity of Barking Mad members. We also have a family page coming soon!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Warringah Council meeting

Warringah Council Animal Advisory Committee Meeting - Barking Mad will be presenting to their next meeting on the 9th August. Let us know if you want to attend. Although we think the issues are more about equity for community members and less about animals, we welcome this opportunity. When we attended another Council's meeting - not one member could come up with a REASON on why dogs are prohibited from beaches. All reasons that were provided (all being different), were normal things in all of society, like crowded footpaths.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Oh my dog!

A Puppy has entered the home and offices of Barking Mad. How do you people all do it? It is SO full on, especially in contrast to my truly quiet natured border collie Pema. He's beautiful, loving and confident. I work when he is asleep. I wake up at least 3x night for trips outside. I've been standing in the rain a lot lately in the middle of the night. I have named him Pasha.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Cleaning up in the storm

We're cleaning up from the storm here on the pet-friendly Central Coast beaches of NSW. On the afternoon (beach) dog walk today, I hesitantly bagged Pema's poo she dropped at water's edge - on an incoming tide. Here I am a passionate advocate for composting and for keeping green and food waste out of our anaerobic (no-air) landfills because of the toxicity and methane problems they create in a dump – and I’m picking up Pema’s organic waste in a plastic bag to place in a council rubbish bin and truck off to landfill. Why do I do this? Because it’s the ‘law’ and as the proprietor of Barking Mad, there is a sneaking suspicion that certain council rangers want to ‘bag’ me.

Does it make sense to do this? Absolutely not! Dog poo is less toxic than human poo because they ingest fewer chemicals, heavy metals and pharmaceuticals. After this huge storm, Sydney Water legally dumped tonnes of human sewage into waterways; regional centres also sent sewage into waterways.

The ocean is brown, warnings are current to stay out of the water due to sewage and I’m picking up Pema’s little poos on an incoming tide with a plastic bag that was made overseas (from oil), shipped here (with fuel and associated pollution), trucked to my local store where I bought it (being taxed first on my income and secondly on my purchase), then using the bag to pick up a totally natural product to truck to a landfill far away where it will slowly decompose and create methane.

Some of that methane will not escape to assist global warming, but will stay in the landfill and breakdown the REALLY toxic things in there to create groundwater pollution. Pema’s poo would have been better in the ocean today; no one would have stepped on it and the world would be a minute bit cleaner. Laws do not always make sense. Remember, when you parallel park with less than one metre between you and the car in the front and the rear – you are breaking the law!

Sunday, 27 May 2007

One more sleep

One more sleep. We're really looking forward to a morning with members and their pooches having a good time. All we will be doing is something the majority of dog owners can do - as long as they don't live in a Sydney coastal council. What's the HARM? See you in the morning for a sunny time.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Musings from the morning walk

A long ramble on matters legal resulting from a joyful daybreak walk on the beach with Pema.

10 degrees this morning as Pema and I headed to the beach at daybreak for a 2km walk. I must start a doggie walk BLOG. Every day I am grateful to be able to walk along the sea and watch Pema play with the waves, other dogs and run after seagulls. The chats with other walkers are lovely – before I head back to the office to make those northern beaches councils act sensibly! This morning we met fishers, two runners, one surfer, five little pooches and 2 perfumed women in designer track pants and clean shoes. Discussions were about the gorgeous sunrise, working dogs, how dogs behave better to other dogs when off-lead and of course, how Sydney residents are prohibited from the joy we experience every day on the Central Coast.

Now that Warringah Council has finally admitted what we’ve been telling members since we started (our right to legal assembly), I recall the tremendous effort from a group of Collaroy dog walkers to get a swimming area some years back. Council agreed, and shook hands on it. Then six or so other government agencies got involved, and council reneged – blaming another agency! SO, if council think they have the authority to declare dog and no dog areas under the Local Government Act or Companion Animal Act, why do they bow down to another agency? I mean, you have the authority OR NOT. And if they don’t have the authority to declare a dog beach – then what gives the authority to issue penalty notices for dogs on a beach? Is it in the legislation from these six other authorities that local councils can do this? There is doubt.

And, as I watch Pema the border collie run 300 metres and back along the beach, I wonder how council meets its’ requirement to provide adequate, appropriate and equitable services. The Prevention to Cruelty to Animals Act says we must ensure our pooch has adequate exercise. Current facilities may provide this ability for small or older dogs, but can a rambunctious dog or one from a working background really be adequately exercised in a small off-lead area? There is doubt.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

The Right to Choose

For fifteen years Warringah has held out that dogs and beaches don't mix. Now that Barking Mad is putting pressure on them due to our member base in their area, they have said we leave them no choice (to oppose us for challenging their view). Do they have choice? One example comes to mind - how long did urban local governments make it virtually impossible to install a home water catchment tank if the residence had town water. DECADES! And now it's changed......a lesson in this example, perhaps?