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Vote Dog 2005

Press Release - all media 26/08/2005 DOGLINKS.CO.NZ Advocacy, education and canine community building: "the politics of dog".

"Vote Dog 2005"

New Zealand has a history and culture of Dog.

Our canine friends are an integral part of families and communities. Increasingly emerging is important role of companion, assistance, therapy and service dogs. So to is the public and political context of the national dog database currently being implemented and due to be live by April 2006.

Service dogs play an increasingly visible role in bio-security, customs and policing measures such as drug and bomb detection. Service dogs can also be partnered with a specific individual for the purpose of helping that individual with a disability and admitted to places that exclude other dogs. Canine Assistance dogs open doors, pickup things, answer phones and herd sheep. Therapy dogs rehabilitate prisoners and encourage children to read. And it doesnt stop there.

Canine companionship contributes to the social and psychological well-being of people from all walks of life, the bond and benefits are very important to human health and well being. Indeed, according to social scientists pets help people live longer healthier lives. Input into Public policy is a crucial function in maintaining this important relationship. It should not be taken for granted. In all too many communities, citizens and their dogs are unduly denied access to parks, public transportation, and even a place to live. Increasing veterinary and registration costs, micro chipping, restrictive breed classification, docking, education, public fears and intolerance, resistance to health and safety promotion are all within the political spectrum. The acknowledged association between animal cruelty and family violence links law and order, civic by-law enforcement and an opportunity for best practice early intervention. Two thirds of all childrens dog bites requiring medical intervention occur within the domain of family and friends. Auckland Unitec Professor of Animal Welfare, Natalie Waran, highlighted earlier this week that classification of dogs by breed had not reduced dog bites in Great Britain, she highlighted that early education was the key to reducing risk. The political context for and contentious use of drug dogs in schools for example has been missed by all political party's. Political parties have discussed policies related to tax, immigration, early education, and nuclear ships but few have talked about DOG POLICY. For some of us, it's a high priority. It may not be as important as our youth crime, fuel prices, tax relief or our national debt, but it is important to know their policy so that later on when parties are in a position of 'power', we, the dog owner can stand up and say "But.... you said this during the elections." The Christchurch based website Doglinks ( http://www.doglinks.co.nz ) is hosting "the politics of dog" with the goal of improving public access for, acceptance of, and welfare of dogs, dog owners and the community in which they live. It has collated the policy position of the respective political parties and provided a forum for discussion and input.

With over four million hits last year and over 400 unique visitors a day, it evidences how new media is enabling working together to powerfully promote, protect and advance the interests of the dog owners and community safety in New Zealand.


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