Friday, 21 November 2008


We've received buckets of mail about our upcoming meeting with a public transport provider. Here is a selection:

I'm in favour of anything that allows us to take our dogs on public transport. Training, registration - whatever it takes really. J.T.

I would love to be able to take my dogs on a train and bus so I would be happy to comply with any form of test/ fee/ regulation. All I want is to be able to catch a train so I can meet friends in the park or on the beach, be able to have a few drinks and then get home safely. S.A.

We should be able to take our dogs onto public transport as long as they are well behaved, and on a short lead. In Europe dogs traveling on trains are so well behaved, there are times you would not notice the dog at all even sitting next to it. I feel we have so many restrictions on where we can take our dogs, in the end it has caused so many problems as they are not socialised enough. D.O.

If someone (pet or people) does not behave well on public transport they should not be allowed to use it. The problem is to define what is bad behaviour. There have to be some guidelines (that are almost the same as for humans).
  • Pets not on seat - no shoes on seats
  • No noise - barking, whining, excessive use of mobiles and loud Ipods
  • No aggression - growling, lunge, elbows, stepping on toes
  • Other traveller should not be soiled - jumping, dribble, sweat and alcohol perspiration
  • No food/feeding.
So basically the same as for humans - which shows that there are no extra rules necessary really; and it shows as well what a highly regulated society we already live in. Definitely all rules should be applied with the same lenience as towards the human travellers. It is up to the conductor/driver to enforce good behaviour in their vehicles; the are the only ones that would need training. A.A.

Barking Mad Comments: Self regulation is another option. I've seen people sharing a train or bus take on people using offensive language and it worked.

I would really appreciate being able to take my dog on public transport and into more public places. I subscribe to the notion that the dog should be well behaved and under the total control of the owner (carer) at any given time. It is time that we the dog lovers/owners voiced our opinions to the many and various councils around this great country. I also think it would help if it was a federal ruling so that the rules would be the same all over the country. L.P.

To facilitate pets to travel on trains and avoid animal haters from complaining I think the dedicated pet-carriage is a good idea. Then people who like animals can choose to travel in that compartment with other people and their pets. Then you won't have the others complaining about noise, smell etc.

Clearly identify that persons and their companion animals can travel in a particular carriage. This will provide persons who do not have private transport the ability to commute without having to pay expensive pet taxis. Additionally, it will also create a community environment, because you know that people who travel in that dedicated area are pet lovers, whether they have one or not.

My dog is the love of my life. He currently travels on my motor scooter with me and is the reason why I got my scooter license. I can't afford a car and wanted to take him everywhere I could with him. Its not particularly good on longer trips and when weather is inclement. Having the option to travel by train to see my parents would be great. Currently I would not attempt the trip on the M5 on my bike...far to dangerous, so my elderly parents have to drive down to my place in Redfern.

I am one of the many pet owners with an unseen disability. For nearly 20 years I have suffered with (edited for privacy). Although I am still on medication and probably will be for the rest of my life, my dog has helped me so much I can't explain. He knows when I'm not well and snuggles with me. He gives me a reason to wake up, get out to the park and feel better. He is priceless and there is nothing I wouldn't do for him. Congratulations on all your hard work and dedication. (private)

Thanks for all your good work. I think some sort of test to gain a 'ticket' for dogs to travel on public transport would be necessary. Maybe this would act as an encouragement for dog owners to train their dogs adequately. No one wants an antisocial dog next to them on public transport - but then a well-behaved one would be a great advertisement! D. B.

Barking Mad Comments on the great advertisement: We know! Pema travels on public transport with her command of 'in your house' that sends her under the seat. However, when people DO notice her, over and over and over, they want to pat her, meet her, have her entertain their child in a pram. She either goes unnoticed, or is the facilitator of a community of joy created on a train or bus giving people 20 minutes of connection, joy and laughter. Today we visited Gosford Hospital (as we have done on Fridays for two years), a mental health clinic and a bank. It took A LONG TIME to get out of the bank as Pema had 5 staff enjoying her company while I dealt with a foreign currency exchange. Joy. Bliss. Community. The bank staff got out their photos - printed or on their phones or computer backgrounds and showed me their dogs. What a cack!!!

I'm a single woman with one small dog and two cats. I don't drive or have access to a car. For me to get my pets to a vet costs me at least $30 each way in a cab, which isn't cheap! Generally the cab drivers are quite rude as they don't want 'hair in their cabs' and so it is difficult to pin one down- not helpful in emergencies.

I think it is vital to have a service for people with pets who don't have cars to be able to transport their pets. Public transport is paid for by tax payers and we have the right to be able to use it for ourselves and our animals. Obviously the animals need to be restrained, confined and should be well behaved. But we really need this. I'd hate to think of animals going untreated due to the difficulties getting them to a vet.

I would also love the opportunity to be able to take my dog to agility classes, dog training etc (as there is none available in my area) on public transport. I lived in London where pets are always allowed on public transport and there is never any problems. Done properly, this is a vital service for communities and individuals.

Not everyone can afford to own a car or even get access to one when it is needed. We need to be able to provide a service for all pet owners. J.L.

Most dog owners that I know have had their dogs do some sort of training. Mine, for example, has a Canine Good Citizen certificate, which means that he is well behaved and can follow commands. I support your efforts and also think that some sort of training/certificate should be sufficient for the powers that be. U.A.

I think it is very important to have some sort of training program in place as a large or even a small poorly controlled dog with aggression issues (either to other dogs or humans) could put the whole cause back in the dark ages. Socialising dogs and teaching them appropriate manners is a lot different from an obedience trained dog. Some sort of temperament testing as well as handler control testing, maybe even requesting that some dogs be required to wear a muzzle on public transport might not be as bad as it sounds to some people. There will be always be people who think their dog is perfect but in fact the opposite is the case. Also there are people who will abuse the system.

I would suggest a list of criteria the dog must be able to pass before it is allowed to travel on public transport. As an example just expecting a dog to have say the Community Companion Dog (CCD -gained through dog obedience trials) certificate would not be enough. I have seen dogs who have this title or higher but can be aggressive towards certain other dog types.

I think allocating carriages for people to travel on is also an excellent idea. It allows people who are not dog friendly (either psychologically or physically) to be sure they will not have to have dogs in their faces.
I would love to be able to get on the ferry at Stockton and cross the harbour across to Newcastle with my 2 dogs. It would mean an easier access to the dog beach at Horseshoe Beach on Newcastle Harbour. Also being able to travel by train & bus from Newcastle to Sydney with my dogs would be great.

Read our letters from the transport and other ministers in support (link in progress, the writer has problems with her scanning technology!)