Ranger services: An open letter to council’s ranger and GM

Honey.

Honey.

Dear Rhys Edwards and Liz Jeremy,

I would like to bring to your attention the consistent failure of your Ranger to engage in his role as I’m hoping you believe he should.

My dog, Honey, is a well known identity around town and pretty much loved by all. She arrived at our home some five or so years ago and she decided we would be her family. We took her in and did all the necessary steps as responsible dog owners and got her desexed, registered and microchipped. Little did we know then, however, her indefatigable sense of purpose to engage directly with her community of Bellingen. Despite our continual attempts to contain her in our backyard of 16 Hammond St, her unbelievable abilities of escape find her getting out and going on happy patrols of her town, to visit friends and generally socialise.

I try hard to explain to her the fact that, as a dog, she is not allowed to take a stroll around town and see her friends, and that, instead, she needs to stay in our backyard. She doesn’t seem to get the idea. No matter how much fencing and fortification of my yard we do, she still manages to escape. She is a canine Houdini and I welcome a representative of your Council to view first hand the measures we have undertaken in the past (and continue to do so) in an attempt to keep Honey in our yard. I acknowledge that because Honey has chosen to make our home hers, we have adopted the obligation of doing what we can to contain her. One look at our yard will provide even the passive observer with direct and immediate confirmation that we certainly attempt our best to uphold our side of the bargain. It is like Fort Knox here and regularly compared to some sort of bikie compound. We certainly do not ignore these obligations – we actively work to try to keep Honey in. The unfortunate understanding I have come to realise is that Honey is far more clever than I. Nothing will contain her. She does her thing and we get fined.

I understand that as a regulatory body, the Council needs to set in place certain boundaries to ensure a harmonious and enjoyable life for all members of the community. And I understand that with respect to dogs, it falls within the Ranger’s jurisdiction to manage this. The question I have is whether you are aware of your Ranger’s total failure to manage the situation at all properly?

Over the past few months I have been delighted to receive in my letterbox regular missives from our friendly Council, only to be dismayed to find simply a photograph of Honey (more often than not within metres of our front door) attached to a fine of $275 for ‘failure to comply with a nuisance dog order’. That’s it. A photo and a fine. Really? Is this the Ranger’s job?

I regard myself as a generally law-abiding citizen and do my best to bring up my kids in a way that will hopefully see them develop into valuable contributors to society. I work hard, I pay my rates and taxes. Bellingen Shire Council has over the last couple of years fined my family thousands of dollars for these scandalous canine incursions and believe me, as a single father of three kids, this has a big impact on our finances.

I wonder where the Ranger’s responsibility lays in actually doing something (anything) to deal with the issue of a dog visiting her peeps, rather than simply taking a photograph of this heinous crime, printing it, stapling it to a $275 fine and posting it off?

I wonder what the Council regards as his responsibilities?

I didn’t read his position description. Whilst I don’t think you hired him as a photographer, stapler and address writer, he does seem to be very good at it. Less so, is his ability to deal with the community in any sort of collegiate way. Is his role simply to derive revenue just through taking photographs?

Sure this guy has a job to do, but there must be some duty of care to engage in a beneficial way which reflects more effectively the community-spirited nature of this Shire.

(Dad joke alert): This is Bellingen not East Berlin-gen.

We will continue to do our best at this end, but if does happen to get out again could you maybe just give me a call and I’ll come and pick her up?

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