Monday, 28 July 2008

Killing Good Aussie Dogs - a whinge.

Is Barking Mad next? To those who support Barking Mad with your free membership or your $25/$40 memberships, I thank you. To the three million other dog owners, to the hundreds of people at Sydney dog parks who think Barking Mad is great, but haven't joined, to the vets and big pet shops that won't join as a member, why?

WHY? The cost of owning a dog is $500 - $1000 a year. A bag of dog chow costs more than a membership to the lobby group challenging stupid laws that say no dogs on beaches, no dogs in rentals, etc. Yet, you won't join. You want to get your dog park in your area, but don't see that each time you win a campaign in your area, no precedent is set. Some other area will be doing the exact fight at the same time with no sharing of resources. One more dog beach might satisfy the big dog owners, but terrify some small dog owners because of the concentration of dogs in just one area. One area is not ok - 30 - 40% is because that's how many ratepayers have dogs. We asked each member to sign up five others - only the member in the Tweed who came up with the idea did such. That's it. It's not enough. We need 10,000 members - paid or surveyed, to get our amendments up. I need a P.A. or I'll be back in the hospital with stress. I would like an income.

I'm called constantly to help people present a strategy for a pet-friendly workplace, or to mitigate a dispute with a neighbour, or to help change by-laws in a unit. I offer this service as a consultant and that's the end. They won't even join as a member, let alone pay for a service or even transport costs. They want it for free but won't work to find a sponsor for us. And by the way, we haven't lost ONE legal matter we have worked on with members yet.

Today I received a PhD survey about pet ownership with lots of questions about registration, microchipping, dog health and cost. Then bang - it asked about how you think you will be affected when your dog dies. WELL somewhere around 25% - 35% of dog owners won't see that day because THEY WILL SURRENDER THE DOG FIRST. Why? Because they don't have a car and can't use public transport with dog, because they do have a car and its too expensive to drive to the only good dog park, because they leave dog at home when cafe owner says dog can't even join them at an outdoor table, because they move to a unit that says no pets, they buy a pet friendy unit that then changes the by-laws, the decide to travel around the country and can't find accommodation that welcomes their dog. It's Barking Mad!

We HAVE a compromise position - train dog and guardian to a high standard and give US more access. My tail is between my legs and I am sad, and tired. I'm working on educating NSW transit authorities who continue to refer to the 'no pets on transport' in the regulation, when the Director General changed that in 2002! Only two people have signed up to help in our upcoming events. We have local government working to submit the user-pays dog license to the local government conference. Guys, I don't walk on water. This organisation needs help to survive.

1 comment:

jessica said...

I managed to get my Mum to join - she doesn't even have a dog or know how to access a blog. Sent the membership drive thing to only other contact I have who cares at all about animals and I don't know if it has been forwarded. This person has lots of animal orientated friends but hardly goes near a computer. Have told people in the dog park - hopefully at least one has joined. Seems to me though that heaps of people are struggling with issues they feel are more important or already have lives that exclude animals - not always through choice. It is very depressing - especially when you go to dog exercise areas and see people not even bothering to pick up after or control dogs - no doubt leading to more complaints and bans. I think the link between that poor dog who was dumped and millions of others is also that too many dogs (and cats) are bred for peoples' profits so there is a gross oversupply. Most people are irresponsible and care little about what is outside their sphere of reference. Some people have life events happen that mean they cant continue to provide care through no fault of their own. There are too many animals produced for good owners to absorb. I have three dogs, a cat and sponsor another at Monika's doggie rescue. I hate to think what would happen if I got sick or couldn't pay the mortgage and these things happen to people sometimes. Family commitments and work take up all your weekends and there is noone else to help with that. I hate to be such a whinger but there are plenty of reasons why people may not be able to help with events or have many suitable contacts to sign up and this does not translate to a lack of caring - about dog laws or the high surrender rate. Compassion fatigue is setting in and I am not sure where I am going with this but perhaps a high profile advertisment to drive membership. Rather than the apathy or inability of the general member base.