Saturday, 31 March 2007

Our Legal Right to Protest

We've had our final check-in with the NSW Police. They are the regulatory authority for the assembly we are holding; we assemble under state law, not council. Our right to assemble does not take away council's right to issue infringement notices for council's regulations. Because we are actively challenging council’s interpretation of several NSW laws, infringement notices are a possibility. Remember that Barking Mad will challenge these if issued to Barking Mad members. If you are not a member, you can sign up on the day.

We expect participants to sign in, read, understand and abide by the terms and conditions of the assembly, and wear the name badge provided at registration.

We expect good behaviour from you & your dog/s. Silly as it is, ‘earning’ back our rights to public space by demonstrating responsible behaviour (even though many of our rights were removed with doubtful due-process decades ago) may be a quicker way to regain our non-criminal status back in society than a protracted court challenge. If your pooch isn’t acting how you would like, take appropriate action such as putting it on a short lead or removing it. Be sensible, be cautious, respectful, helpful and HAVE FUN.

**Two dogs mauled, violent attack on police and two rangers still missing**. This is NOT the headline we want. The media has been known to exaggerate. Our society tolerates assaults on people by other people, crimes against property including graffiti, drunken and disorderly behaviour, littering and speeding a lot more than it tolerates one dog protecting its space against another animal – these are the facts, be they logical or not.

Our analogy to Sydney's ban of dogs on beaches is this: people exceed the posted speeds on roads in their cars, yet they don't ban all of us from driving. So why do they ban us all from the beach because some people 'exceed the speed'? It's nonsensical. Once again, we do not support Ranger Anger. From my discussions with participants over the last week, I acknowledge there is a lot of frustration at the chosen priorities of northern beaches rangers to issue notices for dog offences.

I've also heard that many people think the ban of dogs on beaches is state wide - it's not! I live one hour north and 90% of our beaches are dog beaches (some on lead, some off lead), and yes, it's an urban area. See you on Salty Dog's Day Out, until then, enjoy your companions!

Friday, 30 March 2007

Manly Daily Media Response

Masses of people are willing to stand up for their rights to our community facilities. With the registrations, we have heard some very sad stories. One of a man in his senior years who walked his elderly pooch daily at about .5k/hour (off lead) and was repeatedly fined, even though the pooch wouldn't leave his side.

We were told of another story of a man who has lost his drivers license & therefore his livelihood due to an unpaid pooch fine. What harm are we causing with our dogs? We were told by several people of a disturbing event witnessed by members of a dog-friendly surf club. They saw at ranger run after a woman walking her dogs early in the morning on an empty beach - she got a fine for each of her dogs! (Three x $330 - insanity).

Barking Mad will support members who cop fines for responsible (but illegal) dog behaviour by challenging these in court.

We have also been told of rangers hiding in the bushes ready to ambush those who dare to put paw to sand. With these stories, it's difficult to not harbour hostility towards rangers; however, despite apparent Gestapo tactics, they are doing their job. Barking Mad does not support Ranger Anger. We do support dog owners knowing their rights and are quite convinced our legal rights are more then most people may currently believe.

Politicians & Salty Dogs Day Out

Barking Mad Salty Dogs Day out published in the Manly Daily and the Northern Beach Weekender. The Mayor of Pittwater sends his apologies for not being able to attend Salty Dogs Day Out. The member elect, Rob Stokes sends his apologies as he will be at Mona Vale Surf Club. Rob is supporting the new doggie beach in Pittwater.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Manly Council Meeting

Barking Mad invited by the chair of the companion animals committee, Mayor Peter Macdonald, to address Manly Council on 9th May 2007.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Salty Dogs Day Out

Barking Mad has now been invited by four Sydney councils to present our draft policy for access for responsible animal owners. All this has happened before our premier event, the Salty Dogs Day Out. It's good news. We have the support of the mayor of Mosman, Manly and Sydney. We have received their well wishes for 1 April. The Administrator of Warringah declined our invitation, and we are still waiting to hear from the Pittwater Mayor.

Pittwater Beach Dogs

Ok, do tell. How many people noticed the couple walking along Station beach at Pittwater with their DOG on Australia's prime-time soap Home and Away tonight?

  • Were these people breaking the law?
  • What harm did it do?
  • Is it ok for television but not for resident ratepayers and visitors?
  • Does anyone remember the Border Collie on the Beach pushing the big lotto ball add in 2006?

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

New Website

Finally, the new site is up, but it's still in puppy school. The membership section isn't working yet and the JOIN US links is, well, in puppy school. So please continue to contact us at for the time being.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Feline Fairness

Barking Mad works for cat owner equity too. We've been told of a member being refused entry to a bus with her puss in a carrier on the way to the vet. Maybe the cat thought this was ok because it really didn't want to visit the vet, but we don't think it's ok, so we work for feline guardians as well.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Fines - not so fine, not so easy

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.

Some 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.

Friday, 23 March 2007

WOOF: Cafe Bones

Cafe Bones joins Barking Mad. New members to Barking Mad will receive a sweet puppy gift from the only off-lead doggie/people cafe in the world.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

A blogs' humble beginning

We have people in our government who know how important companion animals are to society. Some of these politicians and public servants are willing to use their position to help us change the abundance of silly dogs laws to something based more from common sense.

Barking Mad has been invited to present our draft policy for increase access for responsible pet owners to one very progressive inner-Sydney Council. Stay tuned, more news in the near future. If you would like us to present our draft policy to your Council, or if you have contacts for us to chase up, let us know at