Saturday, 20 September 2008

Dissenting View and (not) endangered species

I received a very interesting response in regards to the previous post. I am always grateful to people who take the time to write their dissenting view, and even more so when they do it politely and with facts.

First, I must clarify that our assembly at Long Reef Beach in May 2007 said nothing about that area becoming a dog-friendly beach. It was about the requirement of council to provide equitable access to resources for all their residents. The beach is a resource and 40% of Warringah residents have dogs.

Secondly, as I researched the dissenting view offered to, I found errors of fact. Had it been based in fact, it would most certainly been something that we would have to consider and accommodate. HOWEVER, I am willing to be shown that I am in error, and that's why Barking Mad, as a professional lobby association, welcomes those with a dissenting view. Our only requirement is that you can argue your point without arguing people out of a room! But please come to us with research and facts - it will help us create a safe and pet-friendly community that both pet owners/lovers and pet haters can cope with.

HERE IS THE COMMENT WE RECEIVED:
While we agree that you and your dog have rights, the endangered species of birds in the wildlife refuge at one end of the beach and the marine sanctuary at the other are incompatible with the rights of you and your dog.

Please be aware that birds will not nest anywhere, or will abandon existing nests, that they can detect dogs have been near. They are endangered, your dog is not.

The marine reserve is home to endangered little penguins who are also very sensitive to the presence of dogs. Already there have been attacks by dogs whose owners are sure that their dog would not do something like this. The doggy ban is there for a reason. C.C,


HERE IS MY RESPONSE AFTER RESEARCHING 'endangered little penguins'.
In my quest for facts, I have researched your assertion that “marine reserve is home to endangered little penguins” and have found it to have no basis in fact. If you can show me otherwise, I would appreciate it.

There are NO
endangered or critically endangered penguins in Australia. There are three species that are vulnerable, which does not include the little fairy. There is one colony of penguins that are an endangered population, and that is at Manly.
AND MY INITIAL RESPONSE (edited for length) BEFORE RESEARCHING THE PENGUIN CLAIM:
Thank you for taking the time to share your opinion, but I must say au contraire and ask for your qualifications. I have an environmental science background.

The doggie ban is for a reason and it’s revenue raising. Shorebird nesting areas are not related to this specific ban. Knowing your shorebirds and their nesting cycle AND their threats may lead you to a more informed response. The constitution, our federation and the High Court are there for reasons too. Think Aboriginal citizenship, Mabo, maybe even suffragists.
Barking Mad supports legislation that protects shorebird nesting areas.

Of course, dogs off leash are a threat to little penguins – but NOT during the day. Also, these are seasonal, albeit a long season, and have must greater risks than dogs.

The other reason for dog bans is that it is much EASIER to get the dog owner than the parent whose youth drinks underage, drives like an idiot, swears constantly in public, likes to graffiti things etc. How many offenses are related to litter – and we all see a LOT more non-poo litter like drink bottles and cigarette butts. How about enforcing the alcohol free zones?

Endangered? We humans are the most endangered with the senseless way we interfere instead of integrate with our surroundings. Think cars and all they have done to our world, think import/export, shipping, mining. Sorry, my dog is down on the list and she is also a 24 x 7 health care worker – maybe even to your parent at a home that you visit once a week. She visits twice a week at least, and provides respite to the under-payed aged care workers as well. The benefits rein.

And just to clarify, my dog does not have rights as she is chattel. People have rights. A lot of animal welfare people want non-human animals to have rights – there is an argument for and against it, of course.

6 comments:

Eedra at Barking Mad said...

In response to one of your local self-professed experts (who I’m told does not have the marine science background he professes to have, but I do not have the facts, just hearsay), this is my response:

ORIGINAL MEDIA (INCOMPLETE):
Owners’ flagrant disrespect for law. Yet another avian casualty on the peninsula because of the total inconsideration shown by a small but very selfish group of people who couldn’t care less about life as long as their dogs are allowed to run free at Long Reef. (including claim that dogs swimming removes the oil in their coats and causes tick infestation)…. Phil Coleman

MY RESPONSE:
Phil Coleman may well be more respected if he shared his professed knowledge of shorebirds on the peninsula (Viewpoint July 5) instead of his erroneous knowledge of legislation and science. The human causes of avian casualties are not dog-owners, but people who fish and people who litter (or those who walk by litter on a beach). Of the thousand pelican rescues done in NSW by one expert, their injuries were from fishing lines, fishing tackle and other litter including balloons from your beloved children’s’ birthday parties. NOT dogs.

Breaking the law by having animals in the aquatic reserve; the reserve is for animals, as well as other life forms and flora!

Breaking the law by having unleashed dogs anywhere in public areas – really? Maybe areas under council jurisdiction, maybe pets and not assistance animals, and by the courts view, maybe unleashed AND uncontrolled dogs. Mr. Coleman should read the legislation, regulations and case law before acting as both judge and jury.

Most primary school students would have learned that oil and water don’t mix, so a claim that a dog swimming in the sea removes its natural oils is ludicrous. And to compound that error by making a causal link to an increased likelihood of tick ‘infestation’ shows an ignorance of both the ticks’ habitat and its behaviour if using a dog as a host.

Dog walkers showing utter contempt for others? No, the contempt is from ‘dog-haters’, not the other way around. Dogs are part of our society like it or not and we don’t need you to have one or even like them.

Just give us, the 26,000 rate-payers with dogs a fair-share of the 55km of shoreline for our 30,000 dogs on the peninsula.
More ratepayers have a dog than children and there are even more dogs in homes than DVDs.

Since 40% of homes have dogs, how about 40% of beaches; between the surf clubs, at walk-in only beaches, and away from flagged areas.

There is enough space to share and we are willing to share it with dog-haters.

Australia as it has been colonised, rightly or wrongly, was off the sheep's back. The Aboriginals had dogs as companions and the Europeans used them to get those sheep into the stockyards.

Dogs are a great benefit to our heath system, especially in the area of ageing, mental health, obesity and diabetes. Their positive contribution far outstrips the negative. Laws are there to regulate the irresponsible owner (and that means people who don’t pick up poo, don’t exercise their pet or allow excessive barking), but a dog on the beach is not irresponsible, on the contrary, it’s a normal part of life that allows socialisation and exercise.

And if you want to take the dog poo is bad rhetoric, facts will show native bird and duck poo is much worse in our environment.

Take the highly contentious dog or children argument? The largest group of dog owner is a family with children.

There are endless facts to show the main risks to the life and health of a child are stillbirth, negligence or accident at the hand of their carer. Drowning, burns, poisons are well up there too, but it is much easier to ‘blame’ a dog then the person responsible for the safety of their child.

Please, don’t even mention the dangers of vehicles, because we would all prefer to have their usefulness talked about as if it is a one-sided coin.

*sources – Australian Seabird Rescue, Newton – US Dept. of Energy Ask a Scientist, Child Safety – QLD, VIC & NSW.

ANNEXURE: Unlike the water molecule, oil is made up of long chains of carbon atoms which do not carry an electric charge. These long chains without a charge are called hydrophobic - or "afraid of water." Because they do not have a charge, there is no attraction between the charges on the water molecule and the long carbon chains and can't hang out with the water molecules. That is why oil does not mix with water. It is because it cannot form any bonds with water.
No bonds, no ‘removal of oils in dog’s coats”

Tarnie said...

Hi, you said that your dog is a 24x7 health care worker. It sounds like your dog is an Assistance Dog, is that right?

If so, you can already take her to beaches and other places regardless of whether they are 'no pets' areas or not.

Anonymous said...

you would think that being an assistance dog would see a someone able to access public places and in most other cities of Australia it would. However, it is necessary to note how Sydney has the dubious honour of requiring bill board and side of bus advertising to declare that discriminating against guide dogs is illegal! What chance do assistance dogs and their owners have in the face of the kind of ignorance that reguires such measures? It is disgraceful and an indictment on Sydney and its population. Wasnt the founder of this site arrested for travelling on a bus with her assistance dog (telegraph story) and also denied access to the Opera house with assistance dog (blog)? I think Hamlet illustrates what is happening here. That the corruption of the state has polluted all beneath it...so the incumbent government of nsw and the previous federal govt in their selfserving, antisocial disregard for the law,propriety and ethical conduct have engendered, even routinised, a social climate of the same. So on, being an assistance dog does not guarantee anything. Another example might be the seat of lindsay debacle in the federal election so the nsw opposition reflects more of the same.

tarnie said...

But a guide dog is just one type of Assistance Dog. It's so annoying when people say or do things to make others think guide dogs are somehow different to all other assistance dogs. It's just not true.

Eedra at Barking Mad said...

88% of disabilities are invisible (Australia) http://barking-madblog.blogspot.com/2008/08/88-of-disabilities-are-invisible.html

Assistance dogs come in all shapes and sizes.

Barking Mad hears over and over about how a domestic dog (yes, a dog, not medication, not therapy, not friends or family) got them through a difficult time. Would we, as a society, prefer that this person chose to take their own life, instead of relying on the faithful presence of a (damn)dog?

The pet industry in Australia (excluding the health benefits) is bigger than the combined foresting and fishing industries. We come back to the same place...regardless of your personal view on mans' best friend, they are part of our history, our society and provide benefits that far outweigh someone’s individual view that dogs are bad/smelly/a danger/a nuisance etc.

Accepting the growing intolerance of some in our community to dogs (or pets in general) we encourage pet owners to adapt by ensuring their pet is socialised and well-trained. Please, if you need help with your pet, contact a qualified trainer – they work wonders if you are willing to work their talk.

Eedra at Barking Mad said...

Members are welcome to contact Barking Mad Equity for Pet Owners by email for specific queries regarding Assistance Animals as defined by the Australian Disability Discrimination Act. Please note that medical 'evidence' of a disability and evidence of training an animal 'for the purpose' of mitigating effects (or things related) to same is useful. 88% of disabilities are invisible.