Wednesday, 25 June 2008

t-tests, Chi Square & regression

What does all this mean? Pet ownership positively associates with social interactions, civic engagement and sense of community. Most pet owners would say 'yeah, no kidding', but Barking Mad likes to work with science not hearsay. Read the paper published by the University of Western Australia "More Than a Furry Companion: The Ripple Effect of Companion Animals on Neighbourhood Interactions and Sense of Community." Other treats:
  • Households with pets outnumber homes with children, with internet connection and even homes with DVDs!
  • In research, the media's dominance on the potential negative consequences such as dog bites and noise is known as is the fact that these consequences are less prolific than the media conveys.

Barking Mad advocates that the potential risks of pets be considered within 'the weight of evidence (that) supports their health-enhancing potential' and 'costs that are vastly outweighed by potential health care savings.'

Monday, 23 June 2008

Victory - Salty Dog

Damn, bugger, exclamation - is there a more polite expletive? WE WON AGAIN. Yet another council has backed down to our challenge of their $330 fine for a dog 'under effective control' on a beach in Pittwater Council, Northern Beaches, Sydney. Let's paint this picture for those of you who might believe the legality of all the 'no dogs' signs, or think we should all just do as we are told. This is the typical scenario for the court challenges we have won by verdict or withdrawal.
  • The beach was empty
  • Rarely, but if not an empty beach our member was no where near the patrolled or swimming areas.

  • The dog is obedience trained.

  • Owner picks up, has control of dog.

  • The beach is walk (or boat) in access only, or at least 1/2 km from a car park
  • Member is below the high tide mark.

  • The weather can be foul, the surf rough or it is 7.30 in the morning - point being there is ROOM TO SHARE.

Remember that Pittwater is the council that refused to withdraw the penalty for 'dog on beach' when getting out of a boat (with minder) and going to a WATER ACCESS ONLY property. The magistrate made comments that made us smile; in other words - doesn't council have something better to do?

N.B.: We are not anti-ranger, which is why we lobby state and federal government more than the 700 plus local governments. 'Just doing my job' is often the plain truth in the matter. What many people don't know is that rangers have a code of conduct, local councils have a performance measure called 'reducing complaints' (a crazy notion for a profit-based business) and just because a person in uniform say something, they may not know the law any better than you.

Our legal challenges are not against the rangers who issue the fines in the first place, it's the Council management that insists on taking these cases before a magistrate. So many of our challenges have been dropped by local government just two days before the hearing when there has been 6-8 months to negotiate. OK for us, but really hard on the member who isn't aware of the absolute lack of common sense in these legal challenges and experiences extreme stress from the process. The Sudoku playing jurors prompted a brilliant response to the million dollar court case that was dropped due to their Sudoku playing: cap the lawyers pay at $188/day (like the jurors) and see how quickly cases get through the court.

Quote of the day: "lacking in substance". This means that your local government squanders your rates because they have someone who complains about you walking your dog on the beach in the morning and they HAVE to respond, because the law and common scents are, well, different.

We have not yet lost a challenge with members. The problem is we WANT to lose to take matters into the higher courts where precedent is set. Our next court date is with Warringah Council regarding jurisdiction on the beach; why not join us for the continuation and hopefully conclusion of a 'dog on beach' that has taken up 18 months of court time. Downing Centre Local court, 19th of Sept. in Sydney CBD. Email for details.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Free Membership to the Pack

Calling all responsible pet owners that want more access to beaches, parks, transport and accommodation. You can now join Barking Mad for FREE by completing our survey. (Sept08 - This special offer has now closed, check here as we have special offers from time-to-time). We have an active campaign for pets on public transport - the same as in London. We need 10,000 signed up members to get this on the radar, so tell your friends and let's get some positive change now.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

All Welcome Including Dogs & Tired Walkers

It may come as no surprise that a large percentage of Barking Mad Members have lived or travelled overseas where socialised dogs accompany their owners (AND THEIR CHILDREN) to all manner of places. It may also be concluded, though not yet proven, that those Australians who think dogs are vermin may not be so well travelled.....

We love this photo sent to us by a member who comments:

"Apart from the incredible culture and beauty of Florence we were also struck by this phenomenon -the popularity of dogs and how they are welcomed in the main squares, and would you believe in a number of smart boutiques and stores. In was quite wonderful to be greeted each day in the breakfast room by the resident dog Poldo. The streets are not covered with dog pooh which one therefore assumes this freedom to dogs and their owners must bring about mutual respect .

Britain has always been a nation of dog lovers and certainly this has not changed, with so many country pubs and areas welcoming man and his best friend. We were missing our 2 mini schnauzers very much, but we were compensated by many a canine friend to cuddle and talk to. There was a greater percentage of holiday accommodation that readily accepted dogs, quite unlike in Australia.

One of our best memories was a visit to a delightful restaurant in Norfolk which overlooked the marshes of the Wash. After lunch we joined the many families and their dogs on a delightful walk, truly doggy heaven and then enjoyed tea on the terrace where the same hospitality was extended to the children, their parents and their beautiful dogs.

We love living in Sydney having left UK nearly 5 years ago to retire here, but we are always amazed at the bureaucracy surrounding dog owners and the tension that exists in pursuing less restrictive laws for dogs and their owners, certainly unheard of in Europe."


Sunday, 1 June 2008

Cats that look like Hitler

We couldn't resist linking to the catsthatlooklikehitler website. Why? Because they can laugh at themselves. Also, the debate from viewers is mighty! It is as polarised as that on Hensen and Hanson and these are just innocent cats!