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.