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 eedra@barking-mad.com.au. 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 council@warringah.nsw.gov.au and ingrids@waverley.nsw.gov.au

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: MyPetRat.com 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 thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au .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).