Horses and Ponies
The number of times Shire Councils are asked to adjudicate neighbourhood disputes over pet animals and birds is legion, and some finally end up in a court of law when all other possibilities and compromises and negotiations breaks down.
Having been a pet dog owner over many years, it was therefore interesting to read a recent article when such an issue ended up in court.
This time it was over a butchery owner who was taken to court by two Brisbane residents who want his collection of about 30 colourful and exotic birds gone from a partially converted tennis court on his land in an upmarket street.
The furore began in January when this family and pets - including large macaws, parrots and cockatoos – relocated from one property in the suburbs to another property. The neighbours at the initial property either didn't mind, didn't care or perhaps they suffered from severe hearing loss.
But the property to which they relocated certainly did have neighbours that minded, and in the end, to a court of law they went.
This raises an interesting question as there are many older Australians who do suffer from severe hearing loss and have puppies and dogs that make an awful racquet but for which they themselves can hardly hear.
In a recent Christian Today article written by one our Press Service International young writers Merewyn Foran titled “Pets” it was illustrated that our pets have a very valuable part to play with those living on their own, the sick or disabled, the elderly and the like.
Merwyn writes: “There has been a large volume of research that has reported the many health benefits of owning pets. In comparison to people who do not own pets, studies show that pet owners:
Typically visit the doctor less often
Have a lower average cholesterol and average blood pressure
Deal better with stressful situations
Recover more quickly from illness, and
Are less likely to report feelings of loneliness (www.acac.org.au).
With such wonderful reported benefits, I am not surprised at the high levels of pet ownership.”
Ducks and chooks
Most of us
Most of us engage with good neighbourly behaviour with our pets, we seem to know each other's pets' names, as if on a personal friendship basis, and only occasionally is there a bit of word passed when a mishap occurs.
When we lived in Moruya for 14 years on a 10 acre allotment to the end of 2005, serving as the Master at the Basil Sellers Athletes Respite facility (Master is a highly technical name for Chaplain, Cleaner, Janitor, Lawn Mower' and everything else besides), we had Oscar the dog.
So well established was Oscar that when the Canberra Times ran a feature on our tourism walk under the canopy of Ironbark with the Bell Minor bird song, the photo they choose to accompany the story was me and Oscar together, as Oscar led the tourist visitors along the pathways.
But Oscar did more. He was so keen on education he would follow the school bus to school on those specific days (he seemed to know which days) when the children with a range of disabilities had their playground periods. With his tennis ball in mouth, the children would have a full period of entertainment throwing Oscar's ball. After the lesson, Oscar would then trot home. The teaching staff recognised how special this became to the children.
There is more still. Coming from not only a Christian home, but a home where evangelism was paramount in our theology, somehow Oscar picked up on this, and found time in his busy schedule, to share what he's learnt with the neighbourhood pets which included chooks, ducks, dogs and cats and bush wallabies and possums. Historically, like all good evangelists, he was soon sent packing.
The AIS athletes recognised Oscar's retrieving and hunting techniques as overlooking the large veranda at the athletes' lodge was this deep thick bushed gully where only the bravest would dare to explore. The athletes chucked the ball as far and a deep into this unexplored chasm and Oscar would then spend the next 15 minutes finding it. He never failed them.
More than this though, Oscar was both a family pet for cuddling when the children were upset and was very keen on theology as he and I discussed endlessly in my downstairs office. But when the phone rang, he never quite adopted to it, as he bark and carry-on, thinking I was talking to him in in my more animated voice.
Delma Tronson 'baby sitting' Henri the French Bulldog which belongs son Wes and his wife Madeline
In Tweed Heads both our neighbours have pets. One side is a puppy dog of the larger variety who passes by occasionally, and with a mutual greeting. The other side has a menagerie and we get the occasional chook visiting us who has flown the coup (as it were) and their two elderly dogs have a bit to say from time to time, no doubt sharing their wisdom to passers bye who have their dogs of a leashe.
Yes, family pets can become an issue for any neighbourhood. They are never easy to resolve as they involve in many cases pets who are “old dear and beloved friends” especially cats that might have an eagles eye for local indigenous bird life. Those who work shift work and need their day time sleep don't won't a yappy dog next door.
In serious situations, there are various options available today such as mediation, the local Shire Council exploring with wisdom and experience and finally, as in the above story, a judicial order if there all other avenues have failed to find a compromise or reasonable solution.
There is biblical evidence for this with neighbourhood disputes. Moses found himself snowed under with them and Jethro his father in law saw the problem and found a solution recommending the appointments of men of wisdom as judges to sort through such issues.
Road sign: Whitsundays Drive, Bloomsbury Qld
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at