You are on page 1of 21

Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 1 of 21

To: To: To: To: Wollongong Council Wollongong Council Wollongong Council Wollongong Council
6 August 2009

Why are the dog beaches crowded and the playgrounds empty? Why are the dog beaches crowded and the playgrounds empty? Why are the dog beaches crowded and the playgrounds empty? Why are the dog beaches crowded and the playgrounds empty?

Because there is Because there is Because there is Because there is one one one one dog play area dog play area dog play area dog play area for every 3,200 for every 3,200 for every 3,200 for every 3,200 dogs and dogs and dogs and dogs and
one playground for every 140 children one playground for every 140 children one playground for every 140 children one playground for every 140 children. .. .





Barking Mad
PO Box 310
Woy Woy, NSW 2256

info@barkingmad.org.au
www.barkingmad.org.au
Phone: 0418 463 360
Contact: Ms. Eedra Zey, Proprietor
Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 2 of 21
Barking Mad Barking Mad Barking Mad Barking Mad Equity for Pet Owners. Equity for Pet Owners. Equity for Pet Owners. Equity for Pet Owners.

We dont need more fridge magnets, free leads or poo bags We dont need more fridge magnets, free leads or poo bags We dont need more fridge magnets, free leads or poo bags We dont need more fridge magnets, free leads or poo bags
just good policy reform just good policy reform just good policy reform just good policy reform


Barking Mad is the national lobby group
representing pet owners and pet advocates. We
work for safe and pet-friendly communities and
responsible pet ownership. We also work to
restore community knowledge about the
utilitarian value of pets to our society. We aim to
bring an end to draconian and ill-advised dog
laws.

Barking Mad is not about dogs. Barking Mad is not about dogs. Barking Mad is not about dogs. Barking Mad is not about dogs.

We are about community. We are about community. We are about community. We are about community.

Barking Mad subscribes to the premise that a vibrant community is one that co co co co- -- -exists peacefully exists peacefully exists peacefully exists peacefully
with moments of tolerable but utterly frustrating annoyanc with moments of tolerable but utterly frustrating annoyanc with moments of tolerable but utterly frustrating annoyanc with moments of tolerable but utterly frustrating annoyance ee es ss s. . . . Examples of annoyances are leaf-
blowers, lack of expenditure on public education, too many roads, too few buses, road-tolls, loud
parties, parking meters, loutish behaviour and yes, cats, dogs, magpies, pigeons and seagulls.

Barking Mad recognises and respects people who dont like dogs, are afraid of dogs, or dont want
to be around them. Responsible dog ownership, like responsible parenting, involves not requiring
dog owners value and love of their pet to be shared by other members of our community.

Wollongong Wollongong Wollongong Wollongong Local Government Area Local Government Area Local Government Area Local Government Area not dog or environmentally friendly. not dog or environmentally friendly. not dog or environmentally friendly. not dog or environmentally friendly.

Currently, there is one playground for every 139 Currently, there is one playground for every 139 Currently, there is one playground for every 139 Currently, there is one playground for every 139
children children children children
1 11 1
. .. .

Currently, there is one off Currently, there is one off Currently, there is one off Currently, there is one off- -- -leash dog exercise area leash dog exercise area leash dog exercise area leash dog exercise area
for every 3167 dogs for every 3167 dogs for every 3167 dogs for every 3167 dogs.


The largest demographic group of dog owner The largest demographic group of dog owner The largest demographic group of dog owner The largest demographic group of dog owners is s is s is s is
families with children. families with children. families with children. families with children.

20% of homes have more than one dog. 20% of homes have more than one dog. 20% of homes have more than one dog. 20% of homes have more than one dog.

13% of homes do not have a car. 13% of homes do not have a car. 13% of homes do not have a car. 13% of homes do not have a car.



1
Community Atlas, 43,700 children aged 0 17, of total assumed to be playground age.
Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 3 of 21
Dogs on beaches review Dogs on beaches review Dogs on beaches review Dogs on beaches review - -- - General General General General Comments on the proposal Comments on the proposal Comments on the proposal Comments on the proposal. .. .

(Council issued discussion topics and replies at the end of this submission)

Traffic li Traffic li Traffic li Traffic light system. ght system. ght system. ght system.

Too complicated and likely to be in conflict
with the intent of the Local Government Act
the statute that provides Council a right to
govern.
Councils statutory requirement is to provide
adequate, equitable and appropriate
services to residents that includes the
40% who have a dog.

Zero Zero Zero Zero tolerance policy for animal control offences tolerance policy for animal control offences tolerance policy for animal control offences tolerance policy for animal control offences

Claiming to maintain a zero tolerance policy is a negligent misstatement.
Even if Council did or were able to maintain a zero tolerance policy, it can not be justified as
an appropriate use of resources.
For example, if you compare the number of offences for drinking alcohol in prohibited areas
to fines issued for a dog on a beach, or dog off lead, youll find that Council tolerates
drinking in alcohol-free zones. It is an undisputed and proven fact that alcohol fuels
violence. There is no correlation between a dog on beach and violence.
A zero tolerance policy is a comprehensive program that goes well beyond issuing
infringement notices or arresting people. It includes providing alternatives and education.
Should such a policy be implemented it should be for something that will benefit the entire
community, such as minimising alcolhol fuelled crime.

Time share Time share Time share Time share is discriminatory especially towards women and families. It also encourages unsafe
behaviour.
There are rare places where time share may be appropriate, such as the main beach in a city
such as Bondi, Manly or Coogee.
Times share is a discriminatory proposal and creates a regulatory nightmare.
Time share out of favour with professionals in urban animal management.

Urban Animal Manage Urban Animal Manage Urban Animal Manage Urban Animal Management ment ment ment General Comments General Comments General Comments General Comments

Principals off leash areas should be accessible and proportional to the population and available
resources. The remaining areas should be on-leash areas with occasional exceptions such as shore-
bird nesting areas in season.

Education should take a larger application of resources than punitive enforcement to reflect the
knowledge established by urban animal professionals.

Any debate as to whether people like or dislike dogs is irrelevant. Like is not a requirement in a
pluralistic society. Statute is. The current noise, crime, animal and other relevant acts provide a
solid regulatory base to take punitive measures against bad behaviour.
Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 4 of 21
Myths and Myths and Myths and Myths and Public Health Public Health Public Health Public Health

Council would do well to dispel the myths that dog poo is a health risk. It is not, especially so
due to our hot and or dry climate.
Council would do well to dispel the myths that vaccinated dogs are better to be around
humans. Dogs are not vaccinated for any zoonotic condition.
Council would do well to encourage regular worming of dogs.
Dog litter should not be treated any differently than other litter. Council does not ban
McDonalds or Pepsi because of the litter they create, so why blame the dog owner if they
miss a poo? Doing so can be construed to be vilification.
Council would do well to implement dog-share as a strategy for nuisance barking dogs.
Council can provide a new revenue stream by innovating a dog-friendly Wollongong
campaign to capture the pet tourism market estimated worth to be double that of
recreational fishers.



Photo Photo Photo Photo in job add for Western Australia Council in job add for Western Australia Council in job add for Western Australia Council in job add for Western Australia Council





Dogs are a part of our heritage and our culture. Their utilitarian role in public-safety, health and
ageing is becoming more important due to our demographic trends. The economic contribution on
domestic pets must be reflected in legislation. Over a recent 5 year timeframe, expenditure on pets
has doubled to $4.6 billion per annum.

Social Capital, Ageing and Dogs Social Capital, Ageing and Dogs Social Capital, Ageing and Dogs Social Capital, Ageing and Dogs

11% of homes in Wollongong Local Government Area are made
up of single residents aged 65 and over. Dogs (and pets in
general) contribute a vital service to this people and to the
wider society and contribute to the governments Healthy Active
campaign.
2


Benefits of dog ownership:
Reducing loneliness
Improving communication, creating a desire to communicate by providing a common interest
and focus for conversation.
Fostering trust.
Improving cognitive functioning.
Improving physical functioning brushing a dog, holding a small dog on the lap, stretching
and turning, etc.
Decreasing stress and anxiety. Research shows stroking a dog relieves stress.
Motivation a dog provides a purpose to get out of the house, or out of bed.
3


2
http://www.healthyactive.gov.au/internet/healthyactive/publishing.nsf/Content/healthy-weight-loss
3
Animal Intervention, Caring Canine Companions, South Australia.
Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 5 of 21
Whats wrong with the way things are now? Whats wrong with the way things are now? Whats wrong with the way things are now? Whats wrong with the way things are now?
The principal of the Companion Animals Act (the Act) is to provide for the effective and responsible
care and management of companion animals (3A).
However, there is only one reference to care and that is regarding an owner refusing care for a
surrendered animal. There are no references to responsible (ownership) or to responsible care, yet
there are over 30 references to prohibitions.
It must be noted that the Act in its current form creates problems including:
1. Limiting responsible dog owners access to exercise facilities.
2. Restricting access to community services.
3. Inciting fear.
4. Excessive Local Government discretion creating anti-dog council areas and dog-friendly
councils.
5. Not honouring the role of companion animals in our Aboriginal and European heritage.
6. Not honouring the utilitarian value of pets - dogs specifically.
7. Causing environmental pollution.
8. Prejudicing against women, the aged or those who chose public transport.
9. Limiting crime prevention activities.
10. Exposing legal liabilities.
The Act contains the necessary provisions and enforcement powers to accommodate the minority of
pet owners who are not considerate of the pluralism of our communities, or for whatever reason do
not provide the care and training required to ensure their animal is not a public nuisance.
Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 6 of 21
A new vision for companion animals A new vision for companion animals A new vision for companion animals A new vision for companion animals

Barking Mad encourages Council to advocate for this vision
and use their influential position to the advantage of all
communities in Australia.
Barking Mad presents the following vision for companion
animals:
Value their contribution to community.
Acknowledge the canine contribution to creating a safe
society.
Actively promote responsible dog and cat ownership.
Actively promote the utilitarian roles of dogs in health
care, community welfare, and in creating social capital.
Promote the facts about the positive health impacts of
companion animals.
Encourage new utilitarian roles for dogs such as surf-
lifesavers.

The Act in its present form has diverted community's attention from the issues that really matter and The Act in its present form has diverted community's attention from the issues that really matter and The Act in its present form has diverted community's attention from the issues that really matter and The Act in its present form has diverted community's attention from the issues that really matter and
has mad has mad has mad has made ee e the dog and its loving owner out t the dog and its loving owner out t the dog and its loving owner out t the dog and its loving owner out to be the 'badd o be the 'badd o be the 'badd o be the 'baddie ie ie ie'. '. '. '.
The previous NSW Minister for Local Government stated that 99% of dog owners do the right thing.
Why then do we have draconian dog laws that do very little towards the very object of that Act which
is said to provide for responsible care of companion animals?

Regulate when a greater societal need is imperative Regulate when a greater societal need is imperative Regulate when a greater societal need is imperative Regulate when a greater societal need is imperative, not when people
complain about things they dont like.

Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 7 of 21
Legislative Legislative Legislative Legislative Imperative Imperative Imperative Imperative

Council needs to consider all the legislation it operates under, and not just the Companion Animals
Act.
For example, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCAA) requires a contained animal (i.e.
companion dog) to be adequately exercised. Environmental Law requires Council to act sustainably.
Therefore Council should provide adequate exercise facilities for all types of permitted
dogs within walking distance of the home in which it resides.
The PCAA requires proper care of a sick or injured animal.
Therefore Council should provide transport options for its residents and work with
Barking Mad on a national public transport policy for domestic pets.
The Local Government Act requires adequate, equitable and appropriate provision and maintenance
of services.
Therefore, Council should include faeces litter in its litter programs instead of its animal
management agenda because the latter divides a community into pro and anti-dog.
Current prohibitions in the Act are discriminatory. The NSW
Police suggest the elderly living alone have a pet dog to act as
an early warning to risk by barking. How many of these people
are told (in error) they can not have a dog in a strata unit?
Barking Mad knows that this occurs daily. How many of these
people live in rented accommodation where a no pets clause
has remained unchallenged? Barking Mad claims no pets in
rented properties is indirect discrimination and is contracting
out the provision for quiet enjoyment of a rented residential property.

Regardless of the laws and their common misconceptions
held by the majority of the public (example, no pets on
buses in NSW), Council has an obligation beyond good
policies for dog owners. This obligation involves educating
the community about dog owners rights to integrate their
dogs into our day to day life, such as resident at schools
(legal now) or at shops (possibly legal now), and in
particular on public transport.
Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 8 of 21
Anno Anno Anno Annoyances, yances, yances, yances, Nuisances Nuisances Nuisances Nuisances, Insurance , Insurance , Insurance , Insurance (and the wee (and the wee (and the wee (and the wee- -- -police). police). police). police).

Not all annoyances are nuisances, and some
nuisances may be only slightly annoying.
A healthy community is one that co-exists
peacefully with moments of tolerable but utterly
frustrating annoyances.
Council is required under the Local Government
Act to record and respond to complaints. In
private enterprise, complaints would be
welcomed as an indicator of how a business
should develop. Many Councils use the number
of complaints as justification for a prohibition
and something to get rid of.
Barking Mad calls on Barking Mad calls on Barking Mad calls on Barking Mad calls on Council Council Council Council to ensure they do not regulate for annoyances. to ensure they do not regulate for annoyances. to ensure they do not regulate for annoyances. to ensure they do not regulate for annoyances.
INSURANCE INSURANCE INSURANCE INSURANCE
Many dogs have a $10 million liability insurance policy via their owners home-contents insurance.
This applies to the behaviour of their dogs off their property as well. The legislation also puts the
responsibility for misadventure back onto the owner of the dog.
A personal plea to celebrate our liberal society. A personal plea to celebrate our liberal society. A personal plea to celebrate our liberal society. A personal plea to celebrate our liberal society.
Personal comments from the writer:

Recently I had a mature and reasonable person adamantly tell me that a person has a
right to walk down a street without a dog coming up to them or approaching their child
in a pram. This really got me thinking.
Over the next few days, I brought that claimed right into question. Do I, as an
individual co-existing in a society, really have a right to walk down a street without a
dogs wet nose pushing up against my ankle from time to time, perhaps once every
three years? What if a male dog lifts its leg on my childs pram wheel? Do I have a
right to this never happening to me? Do I have a right to swim in an ocean that surfers
dont urinate in?
Many public places, and most public stair wells including the stairs to the iconic Sydney
Harbour Bridge give off a pungent odour. It would be difficult to argue that the odour is
from anything except male humans. The odour is not pleasant, yet, its a fact of our
society. I suggest that it probably isnt worth passing more laws or hiring wee police.
That is, until we successfully address more significant social issues. Please accept our
dogs if you dont like them, or us.
Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 9 of 21
Recommendations Recommendations Recommendations Recommendations

Time Time Time Time Restrictions Restrictions Restrictions Restrictions
Barking Mad does not support time specific dog
access times to public spaces except in
exceptional circumstances. We dont support this
because these restrictions will no-doubt
discriminate against a section of our community.
As an example, a mother is at home caring for two
children. One goes off to school leaving her at
home with the toddler. By this time the time-
restricted park is closed to her and her family (as
she defines her family). Another example would be
a parent working part-time who returns home after
school hours but before their partner finishes work.
Again, this parent is faced with a closed beach to
their family (again, as they define family) and is
unable to exercise the dog before the family dinner
time.
Exceptional circumstances, in which we would support time-restriction would be off-lead access to
main city beaches such as in Bondi or Manly beaches or in school grounds.

Recommendations to Recommendations to Recommendations to Recommendations to Wollongong Council Wollongong Council Wollongong Council Wollongong Council
We recommend allowing dogs on 40% of beaches off-leash in the area outside of sensitive
environmental areas However, we would like to add the following to be considered in an overall
strategy to provide services to a community alive with diversity.

With our recommendations, we call attention to the lessons history has provided us. In particular, it
is not possible to please all of the people all of the time, but trying to do so does guarantee failure.

The following recommendations are not specific to one area, but we hope they will be considered
within an overall strategy, beyond what is called for by the Companion Animals Act.

1. 1. 1. 1. Dog Poo Dog Poo Dog Poo Dog Poo

It is a fact that dog poo in our urban environment (meaning if it has not degraded before a rain
event it will be washed into the ocean directly) has a smaller environmental footprint than the
currently accepted behaviour. Also, dog poo does not have the high level of chemical and heavy
metals as human faeces, and human sewage is routinely put into the ocean after primary
treatment (Sydney) or no treatment (legal sewage overflows around NSW, used about ten times
annually).
Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 10 of 21

44% of dog owners surveyed identified not cleaning up as the biggest perceived problem of
dogs (on beaches) followed by 27% rangers, 6% aggression and the remaining no problem.

The current acceptable behaviour involves putting fresh poo in a plastic bag (perhaps with an ill-
advised notion that this bag is biodegradable), depositing it into a bin to be trucked to a transfer
station, then be trucked to a landfill to be buried in an anaerobic environment along with toxins
such as pesticides and heavy metals.

Barking Mad does not deny that our community expects public places to be dog poo free. We do
note however, that there are no such expectations relating to cat, fox, rat, cockroach or bird
droppings. This is a community expectation that we have to accommodate, not change.

There are a few things a responsible and knowledgeable council can do until the public
perception that dog poo is the most hazardous thing in our environment changes. These are:

Incorporate dog-friendly, people unfriendly spaces of long grass (a reasonable distance
from a water course) where appropriate. This would be an area where the owner does
not venture and pick-up is not required. There are numerous international examples as
precedent.

Consider introduction of dung beetles; use Shoalhaven and perhaps other councils for
advice.

Educate on the real risk from dog poo example duck poo is more harmful in our
lagoons (and ducks often take up residence in school grounds during summer), the
presence of Toxocara Canis in our pampered pets is minuscule, etc. Combine this
education with the fact that children always need to be looked after as do adults with
limited or impaired cognitive activity. Young children should not be left alone next to
water or in the company of a dog, even the family pet.

Work with the community gardens program to incorporate dog-poo vermiculture. Note:
this is only for the committed. Barking Mad has a waste/organic background and we
have clients who still have their Sydney 2000 biodegradable cups going through their
backyard compost system seven years later. Worms and dog poo are spectacularly
successful if managed property with the management emphasis on the worms, not the
faeces.

Encourage community participation in the Campaign for Cleaner Shoes which is run by
Barking Mad. This campaign is a light-hearted approach to education and a plea to
regulators to police the poo issue above the off-lead or prohibited place issues providing
the later are breaches causing no harm.






Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 11 of 21
2. 2. 2. 2. Off Leash Areas Off Leash Areas Off Leash Areas Off Leash Areas

Question: Question: Question: Question: What public space in under control of one person, is in every local government area,
is fenced and is used just 40 weeks of the year?

Answer: Answer: Answer: Answer: A school.

Why should this be an off Why should this be an off Why should this be an off Why should this be an off- -- -leash area? leash area? leash area? leash area? At present,
schools are often the target of vandalism,
especially in those twelve weeks they are not
normally used. The NSW Police have very good
data showing the presence of people out and about
walking reduces street crime.

The NSW education department is in process of
putting up 2 metre fences around many schools.
Schools are a perfect off-leash area as they have
limited conflicting interests after hours or in school
holidays. This could be implemented as a time
restricted, user-pays system, such as tennis courts
in public parks that have a local resident as
caretaker. Professional dog-walkers could pay for
such a space and also ensure that it is property
managed.

3. 3. 3. 3. Fencing Fencing Fencing Fencing

Barking Mad has researched the issue of off-lead areas being fenced with our members across
Australia. Although most people agree that a guardian should not take a dog to an off-lead area
unless it can be recalled, the reality is that many people no longer have the residential space to
train their dogs to this level of obedience. Therefore, fenced off-leash areas are essential to
training, particularity where the space is adjoining a busy road.

Our research shows that 56% of dog owners want fenced off-leash areas and 13% of those want
agility equipment as well.


4. 4. 4. 4. Dogs as a part of our community. Dogs as a part of our community. Dogs as a part of our community. Dogs as a part of our community.


More households have dogs than children. The largest group of dog owners is families with
children (ABS). Comparing the worth and rights of dogs verses children is a useless and divisive
exercise. A better approach would be to provide families with children an opportunity to
consider the positive benefits of a dog in the family.

There are a few things a responsible and knowledgeable council can do to demonstrate the
value of the domestic dog to families and to our wider community. These are:

Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 12 of 21
Host a Salty Dogs Day out in partnership with Barking Mad at a beach. This event could also
be used to promote public transport with pets.

Host a My Dog isnt Invisible but my Disability is My Dog isnt Invisible but my Disability is My Dog isnt Invisible but my Disability is My Dog isnt Invisible but my Disability is event at one of the off-lead dog parks.
Barking Mad would support this event with members with invisible disabilities and
assistance dogs. This could be held with support from local politicians and the Human
Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

Approximately one million dogs are assistance dogs and protected
from the draconian restrictions of the NSW CAA by way of the
Disability Discrimination Act. Due to the nature of the people these
dogs assist, most go unidentified. Barking Mad surveyed every
council in Australia (excluding NT) and was disappointed but not
surprised at lack of procedures and even awareness of this
legislative requirement. No Dogs signs, prevalent on doors to
public buildings are just like a no wheelchair sign in a different
circumstance. When was the last time a security guard asked for
proof of need from the person in the chair?

Barking Mad calls on Barking Mad calls on Barking Mad calls on Barking Mad calls on Council Council Council Council to work with Barking Mad and the to work with Barking Mad and the to work with Barking Mad and the to work with Barking Mad and the Disability Disability Disability Disability Discrimination Discrimination Discrimination Discrimination
Legal Centre in calling for a national ID for these assistance dogs and for keeping this ID Legal Centre in calling for a national ID for these assistance dogs and for keeping this ID Legal Centre in calling for a national ID for these assistance dogs and for keeping this ID Legal Centre in calling for a national ID for these assistance dogs and for keeping this ID
system in the medical arena. system in the medical arena. system in the medical arena. system in the medical arena.


Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 13 of 21
5. A Commercial I A Commercial I A Commercial I A Commercial Imperative mperative mperative mperative

Barking Mad has a draft user-pays companion dog policy. This policy is best explained by a
comparison to a drivers licence. A normal licence requires a certain test and fee. To obtain
further privileges such as driving a heavy vehicle or riding a motorcycle, additional training and is
required. In other words, you earn and pay for those privileges.

The dog debate, unlike many environmental issues, does have edges on both sides of a line.
Barking Mad sees those edges on one side as no dogs as pets or companions in my town and
dogs anywhere on a lead. These edges give us a defined area in which to work to achieve our
goal of a safe and pet-friendly society where companion animals and their utilitarian values are
recognised and utilised.

We are conducting ongoing research from dog owners; in
asking the question Are restrictions on where you can take
your dog fair? our response to date has been:

Yes 2%
Fair? Were 2
nd
class citizens 25%
It MUST change 44%
No 29%

Community expectations and tolerance of dogs in urban NSW has changed dramatically in the
last thirty years. No longer are we tolerant of the off-lead dog visiting our childs school during
the day or of dogs on our beaches. Barking Mad accepts that we have to work with the
community expectations as they are today. (Take the dangerous dog provisions of the Act and
substitute with dangerous youth and you may be enlightened at how our need to blame has
shifted to the domestic dog).

A dog user pays policy would involve training for the dog and owner to a certain standard, an
additional fee paid, and would provide an ID for dog and owner. Should the dog change owners,
the privilege would not transfer. Should the owner obtain another dog, the training process
would have to be completed again for that guardian/dog partnership. The recent achievement
of unifying the microchip database provides the technical capabilities for this system of
identification to be implemented now.

The ID would provide regulators (rangers) with a level of confidence and mitigate the effects of
dealing with the constant complainers each council encounters. An additional part of the ID
would be requiring proof of vaccination (as is the case with any dog school) and also insurance
(which is not yet required, but often in existence).

The Local Government Act has provisions to accommodate this user-pays system such that it
does not discriminate against the economically disadvantaged. Barking Mad does not advocate
for this system; rather we recognise that it may be a way to earn back our rights as dog owners
even if those rights were taken away unfairly. Our research shows that:

88% of dog owners would attend training if this would allow them greater access with their
pets.
66% would pay more for registration if this would allow them greater access with their pets.
Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 14 of 21
6. 6. 6. 6. Reality Bites Reality Bites Reality Bites Reality Bites

The pet surrender rate in Australia is shockingly high with just one NSW organisation (out of many)
euthanasing 165 dogs a week (4 an hour for every work day). Most of these humane killings or the
choice of which one goes today are undertaken by people who love animals.

England has more dogs and more people than Australia yet has a lower pet surrender rate overall
not per capita. Why? They have made it harder to obtain pets and easier to maintain pets. Dogs
are accepted in most social establishments, dogs travel on public transport, dogs by simple
observation are better socialised than urban Australian dogs and they havent sold puppies in pet
shops for years.

Behavioural problems contribute highly to pet surrender as well. The growth in puppy schools is
useful, but more education is needed particularity at adolescence.

Barking Mad calls on Barking Mad calls on Barking Mad calls on Barking Mad calls on Council Council Council Council to fully implement the responsible care provision of the Act by to fully implement the responsible care provision of the Act by to fully implement the responsible care provision of the Act by to fully implement the responsible care provision of the Act by
p pp providing (and funding) owner education. roviding (and funding) owner education. roviding (and funding) owner education. roviding (and funding) owner education. We suggest innovation and creativity to supplement the
evening and Saturday morning dog-club training. Examples are dogs to work days on a monthly
basis, bring your pet dog to school (again monthly), dog bus to the local park etc. These events
should provide training by accredited trainers. Barking Mad can provide this service Barking Mad can provide this service Barking Mad can provide this service Barking Mad can provide this service. .. .

Summary Summary Summary Summary
We hope our suggestions will be thoughtfully considered and helpful to an overall Urban Animal
Management philosophy and policy. The members of Barking Mad are hoping that Wollongong
Council will provide leadership in this area full of love, yet fraught with misinformation and
controversy.


Barking Mad and our members in the area are available for further comments.







Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 15 of 21
SUBMIS SUBMIS SUBMIS SUBMISSION SION SION SION TO WOLLONGONG CITY COUNCILS POLICY REVIEW FOR DOGS ON BEACHES TO WOLLONGONG CITY COUNCILS POLICY REVIEW FOR DOGS ON BEACHES TO WOLLONGONG CITY COUNCILS POLICY REVIEW FOR DOGS ON BEACHES TO WOLLONGONG CITY COUNCILS POLICY REVIEW FOR DOGS ON BEACHES


Community Engagement Unit
Wollongong City Council
Email: consultation@wollongong.nsw.gov.au

Please accept the answers to your community feedback form (below) as a submission to Wollongong
City Councils review of Dogs on Beaches.

Council is proposing a traffic light approach for beaches to make rules easier to understand.
Green Green Green Green - -- - dogs allowed on beach off leash.
Orange Orange Orange Orange - -- - dogs allowed on the beach only when swimming flags are down, must be on leash.
- if the flags are up, no dogs allowed on the beach.
Red Red Red Red dogs banned on the beach at all times.


1. The discussion paper proposes a traffic light approach to manage dogs on beaches. Do you
support the traffic light system to manage dogs on beaches?
No No No No
It is an over-complication. Dogs are allowed on all city streets, and the beach is crown land, and
often defined as a public roadway. There is no reason to ban dogs from beaches why was this
ever brought in? The public uses much less of the beach than ever before due to the success in
educating people to swim between the flags.

2. The discussion paper proposes to continue a zero tolerance policy for animal control offences. Do
you want Council to continue with a zero tolerance policy for animal control offences?
No No No No
Additional comments:
Allow regulation as per the Animal Companion Act which encourages discretion in each situation as
to whether they educate, warn or fine the animal owner.

3. The discussion paper proposes to continue to ban
dogs in Council rock swimming pools. Do you want
Council to continue to ban dogs in Councils rock
swimming pools?
No No No No
Additional comments:

The established culture for ocean rock pools is for
splashing around often with very young children or for
people with limited mobility, and for lap swimming. This
should be respected and continued.
However, the above can be done without a ban.
Consider that families with children are the
largest demographic of dog owners. Consider
that it is likely to be a mother (relate this thought
to your social policy for women with a goal to
increase access to services and facilities), and
Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 16 of 21
that mothers multitask on a regular basis. Therefore, they are likely to want to take their
toddler out as well as their dog. And if they do this, they are obviously confident as to the
dogs appropriateness in the company of youngsters.

Dog owners and minders are regularly advised to swim their dog for health benefits such as
with an ageing dog, a post-operative dog, an arthritic dog, etc. THIS IS RESPONSIBLE DOG
OWNER BEHAVIOUR. There needs to be a place where dogs can rehabilitate from injury,
surgery etc and swimming is the best treatment for recovery. Rock pools are not patrolled
and are not a safe place for children to swim (i.e. no fencing or lifeguards on duty).

Dog swimming should be allowed, but priority for access to rock pools should be with lap
swimmers and other people using them. Most owners will only swim their dog in an ocean
pool when the beach is empty or closed due to rough weather and the pool is the only safe
place. (On holidays on the central coast, dogs, kids, parents regularly swim together in the
lagoon its a glorious experience, especially for the stressed-out city people who live in
dogs are the worse public nuisance and health risk ever councils.



Solution dogs allowed when pool is not being used by swimmers. Human swimmer have
priority please remove your dog if asked to. Share and enjoy.



4. The discussion paper proposes to remove the blanket ban for dogs and allow dogs on leashes on
the beach before 9am and after 6pm during summer. Do you agree with this change? If no, please
suggest an alternative time.
No Additional comments: No Additional comments: No Additional comments: No Additional comments:

As in the rest of the local government area, dogs should be allowed on beaches on leashes at any
time with few exceptions. This is the case in many NSW Coastal Councils.

Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 17 of 21
5. The discussion paper proposes to allow dogs on leashes on beaches up to 4pm in winter (and not
6pm as in summer). Do you agree with this proposal?
No. No. No. No.
This is not practical or sensical. As there are never flags in winter dogs should be allowed on lead
24 hours a day. As per the Animal Companion Act a dog can be in any public place on lead unless it
is a prohibited area. At present the signage on beaches only prohibits dogs in flagged areas. It
would cost council nothing in signage costs to leave it this way.


6. The discussion paper proposes to make the beach area in front of Puckeys Estate, Fairy Meadow
an off leash area. Do you agree with this proposal?
Yes Yes Yes Yes

7. Sharkeys Beach Coledale is currently an off leash area. The discussion paper proposes to make
Sharkeys Beach Coledale an on leash area only before 9am and after 4pm in winter and 6pm in
summer. Do you agree with this proposal?
No No No No
See comments on problems with time restrictions and how this negatively affects families with
children. If it is an off leash area it should be left as an off leash area. There are too few off-leash
areas in the northem suburbs. Council needs to provide services to all residents, including those
without cars.


8. The discussion paper proposes to increase the size of the McCauleys Beach off leash area to
include the southern half of the beach. Do you agree with this proposal?
Yes Yes Yes Yes

9. The discussion paper proposes to increase the size of the Bellambi Point off leash area by
including the area between Bellambi boat ramp and the Bellambi ocean pool. Do you agree with
proposal?
Yes Yes Yes Yes


Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 18 of 21
10. The discussion paper proposes to increase size of the Perkins Beach, Windang off leash area by
extending it from Shellharbour Road/Wattle Street beach walkway northwards to the southern Port
Kembla Beach carpark.
Do you agree with proposal?
Yes Yes Yes Yes

11. The discussion paper proposes to create a new off leash beach at north Thirroul Beach from
Flannigans Creek to Austinmer rock pool area. Do you agree with this proposal?
Yes Yes Yes Yes

12. The discussion paper proposes to create a new off leash area at Stanwell Park Beach, north of
the northern lagoon. Do you agree with this proposal?
Yes Yes Yes Yes

General comments on th General comments on th General comments on th General comments on the discussion paper: e discussion paper: e discussion paper: e discussion paper:

The proposed new off leash areas are stated as beach is isolated and allowing dogs on the beach
will increase usage and security for the public in the discussion paper. They are not the only
beaches that fall into this category.

Declare Pioneer Beach an off leash area for the same reasons. Undesirable behaviour has
increased since dogs and their owners have been banned from this beach.





Barking Mad does not advocate this approach from a Local Government. Barking Mad does not advocate this approach from a Local Government. Barking Mad does not advocate this approach from a Local Government. Barking Mad does not advocate this approach from a Local Government.

Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 19 of 21
APPENDIX APPENDIX APPENDIX APPENDIX Examples of deficiencies with the Companion Animals Act


Swim between the flags unless with your family pet, then take a risk to swim

______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ________________________________ ________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________ ______________________ ______________________

The Act in its current form creates problems of its own making such as:

Limiting responsible dog ow Limiting responsible dog ow Limiting responsible dog ow Limiting responsible dog owners access to exercise facilities. ners access to exercise facilities. ners access to exercise facilities. ners access to exercise facilities.
Many communities have small open areas or parks scattered throughout the council area. Parks
with dog prohibited signs does not reflect the demographic as about 40% of homes have dogs. This
is a greater percentage than homes with children.
Restricting access to community services Restricting access to community services Restricting access to community services Restricting access to community services
Dogs are companion animals and responsible owners will make the decision about where it is
appropriate for their particular animal to accompany them. For example, the writer has enjoyed NYE
fireworks with her dog (who comforted children at the 9pm show and slept through the midnight
show). She would take her dog to the Mardi Gras parade. Responsible owners will know if their dog
is up to crowds and noise, what manners it has around food, and its level of patience.
The Local Government Act requires adequate provision of services, and banning dogs from the
majority of areas is not adequate, equitable or appropriate. This ban does not allow a responsible
dog owner to make responsible decisions.
Inciting fear Inciting fear Inciting fear Inciting fear
The rapid change to a pet-intolerant society is alarming. Although the largest category of dog owner
is a family with children, a large percentage of children in metropolitan areas are being raised in fear
of dogs. This is disproportionate to other risks faced in a society such as injury by motor vehicles,
drowning and poisons in a household.
It is politically incorrect, but a child is more than 100 times more likely to be hurt at the hand of its
parent or guardian than by a dog.
The regulations exist to manage irresponsible owners they shouldnt be creating a problem such
as an anti-dog community resulting in a society full of un-socialised dogs.
Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 20 of 21
The current laws permit discretion. Examples include Manly Council hosting a dogs day out event
where hundreds of dogs (leashed and unleashed) and children enjoyed themselves at a childs play
area, despite a 10 metre ban (under the Act) without the risk of a fine. When asked why penalty
notices were not being issued, a council ranger said its because it is a fun, family day out.
Another example is the Newcastle Council Cooks Beach surf club fundraiser held in September
2007 where more than a thousand dogs convened joyfully with their owners on a park declared as
no dogs allowed.
Not honouring Not honouring Not honouring Not honouring the the the the role of companion animals in our Aboriginal and European heritage role of companion animals in our Aboriginal and European heritage role of companion animals in our Aboriginal and European heritage role of companion animals in our Aboriginal and European heritage
It is our Austrian heritage to have dogs for their utilitarian value and for companionship. Our heritage
is full of stories of competent, confident families with competent, confident and valued pets. It is
also full of hard working dogs that were equally as valuable as the Aboriginal stockman were to our
rural history of off the sheeps back.
The way we treat our pets has changed dramatically as
they have become more integrated as a family member
instead of a family pet. Pet food purchase tops the list
with along with water and candles when a storm is
forecast.

Not honouring the utilitarian value of pets and dogs Not honouring the utilitarian value of pets and dogs Not honouring the utilitarian value of pets and dogs Not honouring the utilitarian value of pets and dogs
specifically. specifically. specifically. specifically.
We are happy to have dogs that sniff for drugs or
quarantined items, visit aged care and hospital
facilities to ease suffering, play a role in detecting
disease, act as the eyes and ears for humans and mind
our children, yet we dont allow responsible owners to make responsible decisions about their pet in
the general society and in public space.
Dogs are being utilised in more ways each day even as surf life-savers and in search and rescue
operations. There is no movement to restrict these dogs from our national parks, hospitals, airports
or surf.
If the Act was intended to be as draconian as it is in restricting dog owners from public spaces with
their dogs, then these publicly recognised utilitarian dogs would be subject to the same
prohibitions.
Prejudicing against women, the aged or those who chose public Prejudicing against women, the aged or those who chose public Prejudicing against women, the aged or those who chose public Prejudicing against women, the aged or those who chose public transport. transport. transport. transport.
By way of an example, a woman living in the City may walk to a local restaurant to meet friends a
suitable environment to have her companion dog by her side. Because of her, her local councils and
her local restaurant owners interpretation of the law, she leaves pooch at home. Walking home
thorough the park at night, she feels fear that would be lessened if her dog was by her side. She
feels at, and may well be, at a greater risk of personal attack. (Unfortunately, Barking Mad has a
case of exactly this situation of a woman being assaulted the first time she walked through a park
without her dog after having had done so with her dog for years prior).
Barking Mad- Equity for Pet Owners Submission to Wollongong Local Government Page 21 of 21
Fifi (the small white dog) has just lost her owner to cancer. Her owners wife is also grieving the loss.
Together they leave the large family home to a small unit in the inner-west of Sydney. Fifis carer
discovers that she is discriminated against when taking Fifi to the vet on the bus. She also discovers
that her new neighbours dont think she should have Fifi in her unit and they are vocal about it.
She feels harassed. She knows her neighbour dont want dogs in her adjoining park. Not wanting to
fight for her rights to public transport, public amenities or a responsible choice in housing, she
surrenders Fifi to an animal shelter.
The animal shelter receives government funding, has a group of well-intentioned volunteers and re-
homes Fifi. Fifi wins, her owner loses. The cycle continues. Barking Mad calls on Council to
intervene in this cycle by making pet ownership easier than pet surrender.
Limiting crime prevention activities. Limiting crime prevention activities. Limiting crime prevention activities. Limiting crime prevention activities.
Dog walking is well documented to increase social capital, a sense of community and provide a
deterrence of local crime. By restricting where we can take dogs and isolating dog walking from
normal walking activities which often are multi-tasking (including a visit to several different
facilities), we lose a valuable resource being the eyes of a community.
Other Liabilities Other Liabilities Other Liabilities Other Liabilities
Barking Mad has a pending legal challenge to the one-dog per home policy of several Queensland
councils.
The Act in its present form has diverted community's attention from the issues that really matter and The Act in its present form has diverted community's attention from the issues that really matter and The Act in its present form has diverted community's attention from the issues that really matter and The Act in its present form has diverted community's attention from the issues that really matter and
has mad the dog and its loving owner out to be the 'baddie'. has mad the dog and its loving owner out to be the 'baddie'. has mad the dog and its loving owner out to be the 'baddie'. has mad the dog and its loving owner out to be the 'baddie'.
We dont need We dont need We dont need We dont need more fridge magnets, more fridge magnets, more fridge magnets, more fridge magnets, free leads or poo bags free leads or poo bags free leads or poo bags free leads or poo bags just just just just
good policy reform good policy reform good policy reform good policy reform. .. .