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Maroochy Shire Council's
Dog Catcher

All Dog Owners are warned to beware of Maroochy Shire Council's New Dog Catcher.

Council have issued him with a new white 4WD and a blue Policeman's Uniform and given him the authority to issue on the spot fines for any and all breaches of the Local Laws.
Theoretically, this would not be such a BAD thing - for Vicious Dogs on Crowded Beaches, but for our DESERTED Beach in the early morning it's RIDICULOUS.
Unfortunately this overzealous officer treats all dogs as vicious and all dog owners as criminals.

Over the years many of us have become complacent with regards to the strict letter of the law requiring dogs to be kept on a leash AT ALL TIME.
In the past common sense has prevailed and we have often let our dogs have a run or a swim without bothering anybody.   There have never been any problems and we have never needed anybody to enforce any hard and fast rules in this regard.

However all this has now CHANGED

No longer can you afford to drop Fido's lead and let him chase a seagull or go for a swim without risking a hefty fine.   $150 for not maintaining effective control in a public place
The new Dog Catcher has changed this pleasant pastime into a stressful exercise.
Unfortunately, people in positions like his are looked upon as ambassadors of the Council and his preference for using intimidation rather than cooperation when dealing with people on the beach has provoked deep feelings of anger and resentment in the community.
This officers actions are more in keeping with those of a Detention Centre Prison Guard in a Police State than what is expected for a junior public servant in a Tourist Area.
We have many pensioners and retirees in our community on fixed incomes who can ill afford to pay such a hefty fine for such a minor offense in order to boost his ego.

Since a life threatening offense such as Speeding or Running a Red Light does not even incur a Fine of this magnitude, and of the 7000 Plus Official Complaints about Dogs in the Shire last year there were only 121 from the Whole of Marcoola, it's difficult to understand why every second dog owner on our beach has been fined.
Obviously we make a Easy Target on the beach.    Too bad he doesn't patrol the streets this strenuously, since that's where most of the complaints arise.
Consequently he is doing irreparable damage to Council/Community Public Relations.

It was our desire to avoid this type of confrontation that prompted our request to have a section of our beach between M47 and M50 declared an Off-Leash area for Dogs.
This request was rejected on the grounds that it was considered that there were already areas for this purpose provided at Stumers Creek and the Airport Park.
However both these areas are too far away for North Marcoola residents to use without resorting to car travel.

What can you do to Avoid a FINE?

Be Alert:
This joker patrols the beach from early morning in a white 4WD.
If you see him coming - LEAVE.
Unfortunately you won't always see his car because he often parks near a beach entry and sneaks down the path to catch offenders off guard.
Keep your eyes peeled for Blue Police Style Uniforms near Beach Entry Points.
One of his tactics is to stalk people on the beach and photograph them in the act with their dog off it's leash, before approaching and issuing an on the spot fine of $150 for breaching the Local Law.
Don't let him get close enough to read the dog tag number.
The registration number is clearly visible from a distance, and it's the first thing he needs. While he is walking towards you and giving his official speech about "..wishing to talk to you about your dog...etc."he is covertly reading the number so by the time he announces his intention to issue you with a citation and asking you for his Registration Number - He already HAS it.
His plan is to provoke you into loosing your temper and doing something RASH like Refusing to cooperate or Walking away.
He can then justify POSTING you a $150 Fine by Registered Mail even though you think your OFFENSE and should have only warranted a Warning.
Remember - He gives FINES not Warnings so KEEP CLEAR
The ONLY way to avoid a Fine is to KEEP YOUR DOG ON THE LEASH at ALL Times
(Sort of takes some of the FUN out of life - eh?)


We conducted a SURVEY in the September 2002 Sandpiper.
Here are the RESULTS

DOGS ON BEACH - SURVEY 
Official Figures show that less than 1% of all Dog Complaints come from North Marcoola. 
Yet our dog owners are among the most heavily fined in the Shire. So why canít we have 
sensible laws like Caloundra, who allow dogs off leash on the beach between the hours 
of 4-00PM and 8-00 AM ?. 
If YOU have an opinion, let us know by filling out this Survey Form and we'll pass on the results to Council.
       21    Allow dogs off leash on beach between 4-00PM and 8-00AM 
              As above    but on  Week Days Only 
              Permanent Off Leash Area  (ie. Between Markers M47 and M50) 
       Zero   NO - I Hate All Dogs  (And their Owners as well). 
         2      OTHER - Attach your personal variation or opinion. 
                    The 2 Variations of the above combined the first three options 
              (ie.. Allow dogs off leash between 4pm and 8am between M47 & M50 on week days)

STATISTICS:
There were 29 Responses from 450 letter drops  -   i.e.  6.5%
These were all received within TWO (2) Days of Distribution.
82% wanted the Caloundra Local Law.
NOBODY wanted the NO DOGS Option.

CONCLUSIONS:
6.5% response in 2 days indicates People ARE concerned about this Issue. - Moreso than in our Park Reclamation or Dune Protection efforts which attract a ZERO response.
Especially given the general apathy of people towards Surveys (e.g.. The majority of those that attended our September meeting had not even bothered to fill out the survey)
Compare THIS response to that given to OTHER burning council issues such as The Town Plan or Preferential Voting?

These Results were passed on to Council, but don't expect any response there.


The LATEST DEVELOPMENT
We have reprimanded for referring to the DOG CATCHER as an ARSE HOLE.
They don't even like us calling him a DOG CATCHER.
Council would like us to call him A LOCAL LAWS OFFICER.
They've informed us that he is now a MULTI-SKILLED Local Laws Officer because he now also has the authority to issue On The Spot Fines to Offenders breaching the NEW Council PARKING Laws.
But he will be using his discretion when enforcing these new rules, so you needn't worry about Wheel Clamps or $150 Fines just yet.   -    Oh Yes??? Where have we heard THAT before??
This is the SAME guy that used his discretion on the Beach with the Dogs - Remember?
Below are just 3 EXAMPLES of the MANY Incidents where Discretion took second place to EGO.
Only the Names have been CHANGED to protect the identify of the victims who have already been FINED $150.
THE SITUATION: 
Autumn 2002, Marcoola Beach, Mid morning, Rainy day, High tide, Deserted beach
Reg takes his dog for a quick walk between showers (100m max). 
Dog is on a leash, but as there's nobody about he drops it to allow dog to chase a seagull into surf.
When about to leave beach he stops to talk to neighbour who's wife commences to pet the dog. 
They don't notice the white Council Suzuki drive up behind them until it's too late. 
The Dog Catcher gets out proceeds to give them a lecture about holding onto the lead at all times then announced his intention to issue a citation because he had observed the dog running into the water upon his approach. The fact that the beach is deserted does not change the Letter of the Law.
Reg walks away, but gets a fine for $150 in the mail next day.
The little crud had already read the Tag Number whilst engaging them in conversation and nobody but NOBODY walks away from an important man like him and gets away with it.
THE OUTCOME:  Council has lost an Ally and gained an Enemy.
Reg once had good relations with Council having served as an Honorary Ranger, Rescue Helicopter Crewman and Part Time Lifeguard but now feels so insulted by this incident he has severed all links with Council and all his previous Community Projects such as; Volunteer Fire Brigade, Beach Cleanup, Dune Restoration & Weedbusters, Meals on Wheels, Life Saving, S.E.S. etc. 
   All because of this officious little mans need to assert his authority.


The SITUATION 
Winter 2002, Sunrise, South Marcoola Beach, Beach deserted except for a lone fisherman fishermen.
John jogs with his dog before breakfast. It's still DARK. A car approaches with it's headlights on. 
He thinks it's a professional fisherman until it stops and the Dog Catcher gets out in his blue uniform.
The dog was actually wearing his lead but he had dropped it to give him a better run.
John was amazed to hear that he is to receive a citation for not having the dog's lead in his hand and he told the officious little prick so, but to no avail.
He feels humiliated at being virtually ARRESTED on the beach by this guy but takes his Ticket home.
It was too dark to read on the beach but he was expecting a fine of about $30. 
Imagine his anger when he finds it's actually for $150. 
Real Criminals don't receive a fine of that much for Speeding or Running a Red Light.
THE OUTCOME: Council has lost the support of yet another law abiding citizen and his story has now spread far and wide throughout the Community.


THE SITUATION: 
Summer 2002, Mid week 10-30AM, Location: Marcoola south of Surf Club, Hot Sunny day.
Lynne takes her two little girls and the family poodle down the path to the beach for a swim. 
The dog is on it's lead. The sand is hot and the kids run ahead to cool their feet in the water.
Lynne is laden down with towels and gear and the dog pulls free and runs after the kids.
Lynne makes it onto the beach only to find our Hero waiting next to his white Suziki.
Again it's a humiliating lecture about keeping your dog under control at all times followed by the inevitable $150 Fine. 
THE OUTCOME: Council has lost the respect of another family together with all their friends.
I think we will probably be sticking with our OLD Name for this Joker.


BILL'S DAILY GAG - It's NO JOKE!                He's still an ARSE HOLE
Click HERE for Yesterday's Joke
Click HERE for Tomorrow's Joke

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What an ARSE HOLE