Sunday, July 01, 2007

Barking Mad

I just read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about a new lobby group in NSW called Barking Mad, formed to fight the welter of oppressive and inconsistent regulations for pets and their owners. While Bondi has run into varied rules and regulations across the length and breadth of Europe, it is as nothing compared to the over-regulation found within Sydney's borders. Dogs may not sit near cafes, play on (unfrequented) beaches or even walk in some city streets. Renters and apartment owners with pets find it extremely difficult to secure accommodation. One can cross a street in Sydney and unknowingly walk into a zone controlled by a different local council with entirely different rules than the one you just left.

There are also no public-transport options for Sydney even though the system is under-utilised by humans. This makes it very difficult for older or lower-income pet owners to get around town, including trips to a veterinarian.

Much as I hate to say it, I would not recommend that any pet-lover contemplate moving to Sydney while this unfriendly atmosphere prevails.

The only place I have found with even more stringent regulations is Tasmania, where businesses are forbidden to put water-bowls out for dogs, in case children drink from them. I'm awaiting news of a ban on rain puddles.

Tonight is the last night that smokers in England* are able to light up inside public enclosed spaces. As a consequence many venues had smoking ban parties to allow the last interior light-ups, the most famous of which happened in Glasgow Airport when a burning terrorist rushed in and tried to wipe out a huge number of people with the effects of passive smoking.

*Similar Scottish and Welsh laws have come into effect already.

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