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.