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 cafĂ©-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