Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Warringah Council rangers were not told...

Photo: Our party after court; two of these three dogs are Assistance Animals by law.

For one year, we have assisted members challenge many 'stupid' dog fines in court. We have won each and every one. We've been looking forward to this legal challenge issued by Warringah Council against Barking Mad's proprietor Eedra Zey because it contains several important issues of law. Please recall that this 'penalty infringement notice (PIN)' was issued during a legal assembly back in May 07 - Salty Dogs Day Out #2. Case law strongly supports the right of people to 'protest' peacefully, yet Warringah appear to think they act above court decisions. We wonder if that is why the Council was SACKED by the NSW government and remains in control of an 'administrator' unlike other councils that have elected members.

Our court appearance, attended by several Barking Mad members and their dogs took the entire day. We've got to hand it to the two rangers who were witnesses. They are SO caught in the middle, and both who testified showed common sense well beyond the Warringah Council administrator who so ignorantly proclaims (with tax payers money) that 'dogs and beaches don't mix'. Unfortunately, the rangers were not aware of the Plan of Management for the beach in question - oops. Log into the members area for more details.

Our case continues in May. Council chose not to accept that the dog was a Disability Assistance Dog which would have concluded the case. We don't mind, as we would much prefer to argue jurisdiction, which is often difficult to do in the lower courts but we are managing thanks to Warringah Council's obstinacy.

Our celebration party ended unceremoniously when a couple of young, bored police officers showed up and said the publican of Paddy Maguire's wanted me to leave because my dog was inside. She was outside with all the other dogs, and we were still being served drinks... They said I would be fined $550 if I didn't leave and I said 'yes please'. An hour passed until a (not bored) aggressive Sergeant showed up and arrested me. He was in no mood to know, understand, or even listen to any of the laws that make it illegal for a business to deny access to a person with an assistance animal. So, I was carted off to the police station where I finally got out 2 hours later having missed the last train home. Little did I know I was to be arrested again later in the day, in horrific, brutal and demeaning circumstances. And on that note, I must thank the city police for their humanity in keeping me with my dog, transporting me in a vehicle and otherwise respecting my health and welfare. OF COURSE, Pema won over the custody manager and ended up behind the police desk on the command chair and was given the rank of Sergeant.
  • TRAIN: Remember that RailCorp allows you to travel with your dog "if it provides a therapeutic benefit to you or someone other than yourself." More on members area of the web, as to will be our campaigns that stem from these two arrests. None of these laws will stop you from being hassled until a big education campaign is put in place!