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Wollongong Council - Aug09

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Submission to Wollongong Council
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  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 isBecause there isBecause there isBecause there is oneoneoneone dog play areadog play areadog play areadog play area for every 3,200for every 3,200for every 3,200for every 3,200 dogs and dogs and dogs and dogs and one playground for every 140 childrenone playground for every 140 childrenone playground for every 140 childrenone 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 don’t need more fridge magnets, free leads or poo bags“We don’t need more fridge magnets, free leads or poo bags“We don’t need more fridge magnets, free leads or poo bags“We don’t 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 cocococo----exists peacefullyexists peacefullyexists peacefullyexists peacefully with moments of tolerable but utterly frustrating annoyancwith moments of tolerable but utterly frustrating annoyancwith moments of tolerable but utterly frustrating annoyancwith moments of tolerable but utterly frustrating annoyanceeeessss. . . . 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 don’t like dogs, are afraid of dogs, or don’t 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 AreaLocal Government AreaLocal Government AreaLocal 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 childrenchildrenchildrenchildren 1111 .... 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 dogsfor every 3167 dogsfor every 3167 dogsfor every 3167 dogs. The largest demographic group of dog ownerThe largest demographic group of dog ownerThe largest demographic group of dog ownerThe 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, ½ 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 ---- GeneralGeneralGeneralGeneral Comments on the proposalComments on the proposalComments on the proposalComments on the proposal....   (Council issued discussion topics and replies at the end of this submission) Traffic liTraffic liTraffic liTraffic light system.ght system.ght system.ght system. ã   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. ã   Council’s statutory requirement is to provide adequate, equitable and appropriate services to residents – that includes the 40% who have a dog. ZeroZeroZeroZero tolerance policy for animal control offencestolerance policy for animal control offencestolerance policy for animal control offencestolerance policy for animal control offences ã   Claiming to maintain a zero tolerance policy is a negligent misstatement. ã   Even if Council did or were able to maintain a zero tolerance policy, it can not be justified as an appropriate use of resources. ã   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, you’ll 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. ã   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 shareTime shareTime shareTime share is discriminatory especially towards women and families. It also encourages unsafe behaviour. ã   There are rare places where time share may be appropriate, such as the main beach in a city such as Bondi, Manly or Coogee. ã   Times share is a discriminatory proposal and creates a regulatory nightmare. ã   Time share out of favour with professionals in urban animal management. Urban Animal ManageUrban Animal ManageUrban Animal ManageUrban Animal Managementmentmentment –––– General CommentsGeneral CommentsGeneral CommentsGeneral 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 andMyths andMyths andMyths and Public HealthPublic HealthPublic HealthPublic Health ã   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. ã   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. ã   Council would do well to encourage regular worming of dogs. ã   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. ã   Council would do well to implement dog-share as a strategy for nuisance barking dogs. ã   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 Councilin job add for Western Australia Councilin job add for Western Australia Councilin 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 DogsSocial Capital, Ageing and DogsSocial Capital, Ageing and DogsSocial 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: ã   Reducing loneliness ã   Improving communication, creating a desire to communicate by providing a common interest and focus for conversation. ã   Fostering trust. ã   Improving cognitive functioning. ã   Improving physical functioning – brushing a dog, holding a small dog on the lap, stretching and turning, etc. ã   Decreasing stress and anxiety. Research shows stroking a dog relieves stress. ã   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.
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