Sunday, 31 August 2008

Western Australia Snap Election

A snap election has been called by the Labor Premier Alan Carpenter. (link to ABC summary).

We have written to party leaders, transport and environment/climate change ministers for both parties. We want a promise that voters with pets will be accommodated with access to public transport. (link to current Labor public transport promise).

Our question: Access to reliable and safe public transport is essential. As 65% of voters have a pet, what will you do to ensure that pet-owners' right to travel on public transport is established and maintained? (Note that with that right, responsible pet owners accept social responsibly as pet guardians and respectful members of a diverse community).

The Issue:
Clean, well-behaved pets should be able to accompany their responsible owners on buses, coaches, ferries, trams and trains throughout Australia.

The Solution – London Style

  • You can travel with your dog or other inoffensive animal, unless there is a good reason for us to refuse it (such as if the animal seems dangerous or is likely to upset other customers).

  • You must keep it under control on a lead or in a suitable container, and must not allow it on a seat.

No responses yet, but we've got our WA members on it, and will update you on this blog.

Friday, 29 August 2008

88% of disabilities are invisible

One out of five Australians has a disability. 40% of Australians have dogs. A dog trained to assist this person to alleviate the effect of the disability, or because of any matter related to that fact is an assistance animal. Invisible disability link.

A disability can be permanent, long term or short term. A DSM-IV diagnosis is useful if you have trained your own dog, or have obtained a trained dog that assists you. Invisible disabilities include depression, mood disorders such as bipolar, panic, agoraphobia, OCD and post traumatic stress as well as more socially accepted conditions such as epilepsy and diabetes. (You asked...alcohol abuse is a symptom of some of these conditions, but although it can be disabling, it is not a disability).

Notably, for our ageing population, bereavement from the loss of a life partner can become a disability.

Assistance animals come in all shapes and sizes. Does your dog assist you to function in life, or does it keep you from becoming a statistic? The disability laws in many countries are the only legislation legitimising what so many of us know, especially health care professionals; that is that pets are a benefit to our society and our well-being. Join Barking Mad as a member to find out more.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The death of Tyra Kuehne

Neglect is a word that comes to mind. Then again, I savour the idea of a safe community where our young ones can run around free without risk of crime; in a place where neighbours watch not for judgment and gossip, but for community. Tyra lived a long way from Sydney, a long way away from the source of mass media. I doubt that I am able to pass any judgment not having lived in a small rural centre with children; is any other capital-city dweller qualified to do so?

The media is a fickle lover. The headlines sell, the comments decide the verdict and, in this case, NSW Parliament reacted with a 'guilty before proven' regulation to declare dogs dangerous if they only appear threatening. That was 2006, when a four year old (allegedly) left unsupervised for several hours in a small town in sheep & cotton country NW of Dubbo (allegedly) climbed in an enclosure with several (alleged) pig dogs that she had (allegedly) known for years.

But now, in the first day of a coronial inquest into the child's death, one paper reported: A parent's supervision of a girl mauled to death by trained hunting dogs was "questionable," with the girl and her siblings allowed to roam the streets for extended periods, including at night.
  • Will we find out that an unsupervised child taunted (i.e. played) with dogs with a hose and/or a dead chicken?
  • Will we find out that fencing was not 'adequate'?
  • Will we find out that everyone did what was right and responsible and this was an accident - an accident and like most, painful for those involved.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Our free membership.

Our free membership with survey has brought in many members, some of them actively participating. To an active member, I asked: Why don't they pay? (It's a lot less than a big bag of good dog chow and lasts longer). The response I got:
"They don't pay because they yet don't realise what Barking Mad is!!! They live in a take-your-dog to the beach paradise, and it hasn't entered their minds that they might go to the beach one day and find it covered in 'no dogs' or 'dogs must be on leash' signs (as happened recently just 1/2 hour away) and rangers hiding in the bushes, on a public holiday, waiting to pounce on people/dogs!!! They haven't read the whole Barking Mad site and haven't thought about discrimination of rentals to pet owners, or think it's something one must put up with."
To those folks who live where dogs are still welcome - enjoy; we hope it lasts.
And another view: lots of good people who volunteer struggle financially, lots of good people who have terrible health problems depend on their pet for companionship and joy. Our free membership makes sure we can include these passionate people in our pack.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

VOTE: for our families, our dogs

The NSW Local Government Election is on. We are contacting all candidates and creating a scorecard. Click here for our service to you - the responsible pet owner.

  1. Given that about 40% of households own a dog, and given that the Local Government Act requires councils to equitably supply services, will you use your vote in council to make about 40% of parks, beaches and other recreation areas open to free use by dog owners and their dogs?
  2. Through council, will you urge the State government to allow pet owners in need of public transport to use buses, trains and ferries with their pet?
  3. Do you agree that responsible tenants should have more legal protection against discrimination by landlords on the grounds of pet ownership. Victoria has such legislation.
  4. What will you do to ensure that responsible pet owners are represented at council and are given equitable access to community resources?

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Name our Party

Should we form a political party? Currently, responsible pet-owners are unrepresented. The Shooters look after the 'guns, dogs & 4WD' folks, but who represents us? Some food for thought on forming a party.

Tools to get us ahead:

  • Disillusionment with the current political landscape
  • A dream for the future, howevery flimsy
  • A catchy grab to sum up you dream for the future
  • Too much time
  • A knack for avoiding questions
  • A scapegoat
  • Our very own trumpet


Thanks to Sian White for this post.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Poo News You Should Know

Do you believe every sign? Do you comply with every direction from someone who thinks they have authority? Is your pet important enough to you to question the proliferation of people stating 'no dogs allowed'? Are you sick and tired of being unwelcome because of your companion dog? I am! And I am grateful when facts support our work. I urge everyone to read this recent report. (html version)

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


We were alerted to this farce on an Australian government website. Our comments follow, and we are taking this up with the publisher as a matter of urgency. With this sort of STUPID stuff being printed by our government,what hope is there for people who apply logical thought and use evidence-based facts?

Native animals see dogs as predators. The lasting scent left by dogs can easily scare small animals and birds away from their homes, often causing them to leave their young unprotected. Any evidence of dog scent affecting wildlife is overshadowed by that of humans, foxes and feral cats. Birds normally leave their young to get food; the nest is protection!

  • Dog faeces carry diseases which can be harmful to wildlife and people, and also add nutrients to the soil, increasing the spread of weeds. Birds carry weed seeds, not dogs! Dog poo is blessed by Australia's climate. The minute pathological risk from poo is almost non-existent due to our hot and dry. Reference

If dogs and other domestic pets have frightened native animals away from popular visitor areas, there will be no wildlife for other visitors to see. Is this honestly a claim that native animals are comfortable around PEOPLE , just not their dogs? Such non-sense is frightening. Popular visitor areas are typically overrun by ferals such as Indian Myna birds and Ibis.

  • Dogs can interfere with the enjoyment of other park visitors. At last, a true statement, but people who are loud or litter can interfere with other park visitors as well. How about sharing the space with all our families?

FACT: The massive number of feral animals that arrived in the first hundred years of European settlement have permanently and drastically altered the Australian environment, introduced disease, caused land degradation and are implicated in the extinction of most of the 27 mammals in NSW.

Today, feral animal and plants are the second greatest international and national threat to biodiversity after habitat destruction such as land clearing. In some parts of NSW feral species are now the greatest threat. (NPA NSW).

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Dogs flogging products in the 19th century

Nipper was born in 1884 in Bristol, England and lived to 1895. He was named Nipper because he tried to bite visitors in the leg! (I once had a horse named Kicker - no guesses!)

Three years after Nipper's death Francis Barraud painted a picture of him listening intently to a wind-up Edison-Bell cylinder phonograph, because cylinder phonographs were capable of making home recordings. This picture shows Nipper listening to Nipper's previous owner, Francis's deceased brother, Mark. In 1899 the painting was bought by the Gramophone Company, which painted out the Edison-Bell machine and replaced it with one of theirs.

Technically, this was non-sense as gramophones were not capable of recording, but the public seemed not to have noticed this error, (oh the non-questioning public!) as this modified form became the successful trademark of Victor records, HMV music stores, and RCA.
Barking Mad comments: It's OK to use dogs to advertise homeware and media stores, new housing developments, banks and more - yet take pooch to these places and see if you are welcome. Our pets are not an advertising tool, they are part of our family.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Remembering David (my Dad)

Remembering David (his memorial as written by his mates in Niagara Falls, NY).

"It's been a good ride" said David Zey, Save-A-Pet volunteer, shortly before he passed away at The Niagara Hospice House on Monday, July 14th. You may remember him from Pick-A-Pet Shows, fund-raisers, or spay/neuter clinics. He was at all of them. He would help in any way he could but you will probably remember him as our unofficial greeter with an infectious smile and outgoing personality.

David was an indispensable volunteer although he would deny it. As much as we would love to, David understood that we could not save all the animals. He refused to be discouraged and did what he could which lifted our spirits when we were frustrated. Try to thank David and he would modestly say "We choose to do this."

"I can carry boxes," he would say. He helped with so much of the hands on, grunt work necessary for any successful event. Save-A-Pet President Chris Halvorson described him as "a modest person who consistently UNDER estimated his impact on out group."

We love David not only for what he did for the animals and us but for who he was- compassionate about animals and passionate about irresponsible people. He has left a huge hole in our organization but more of an empty place in our hearts. We will remember you, David. Thank you. We love you and thanks for letting us come along on your ride.

(David's daughter, Eedra, lives in Australia. Visit her website to read her tribute to her Dad.
Eedra's comments: As my Dad was intolerant of irresponsible people, so too I. I choose a slightly different approach that is supporting the responsible pet owners instead of cleaning up after those we are intolerant of. Fortunately, these are the majority in our Lucky Country. Responsible pet owners need to be allowed to live a 'normal' life with their pets, such as having access to beaches, parks, cafes and transport. Let those keen rangers go after the idiots, not us. I ask everyone who is involved in pet rescue to join Barking Mad so that we can limit pet surrenders by making pet ownership more welcome in our communities

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Manly Event Sunday

Hope to see you at Manly/Queenscliff Lagoon this Sunday. We will be there from 9:30 - 2:30.

Friday, 1 August 2008

I do dog tricks

Obedient Puppy - click here then type in a command and see what happens. Sit, roll over, sing, kiss, dance, fetch, play dead etc. And, it's also very cute if you type in a command that's not recognised.

This little gizmo is from a pet pharmaceutical company; how nice to have the budget to do cute things. I would like to see these companies stand up for common scents in pet laws - including puppy farms!