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Australia: the most dog-unfriendly country in the world?

Written 2008/01/04, modified 2013/06/27
Contact, email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com welcome

My wife and I had a short holiday touring the Murray valley a few months ago. We stayed in cabins in caravan parks and camping grounds, and we took a couple of dogs. Even though we were happy to keep our dogs outside, we had trouble finding places that would allow dogs.

Our daughter took her two dogs across the Nullarbor some months ago. She had to sneak her dogs into motel rooms overnight because there was no alternative.

Same thing in the Flinders Ranges; very hard to get accommodation if you have dogs with you, even if you keep them outside. (On a later trip we found a cottage in Blinman and shearer's quarters at Moolooloo Homestead, north of Blinman, that did allow our dog.)

Dogs are not allowed in almost all national parks, even on a lead. There are now few places in towns or cities where dogs are allowed to go without being on a lead; even those dogs that are well trained and under their owner's control.

There seems much less dog-phobia in the UK and Europe. Dogs are allowed into restaurants and hotels there. And I can't imagine most Asian countries objecting to dogs in most places.

The tourist industry of Australia tries to spread an image of a country that is free, open, friendly, and strong on nature. Is this justified?

The time seems to be approaching when it will be impracticable to take a dog on a holiday in Australia unless one has one's own accommodation: a caravan, campervan, or tent. Even then, it might be simplest to avoid staying in caravan parks or formal camping grounds.

One alternative, I suppose, is to not mention the dog to the park managers?

With so many rules and regulations, many of which seem excessive to the point of farce, Australians are being pushed into choosing which rules to obey and which to ignore. Isn't sneaking a dog, under control (on a leash or otherwise), onto a national park for a walk a victimless crime? Is anyone being hurt in any way if you take your dog into a cabin overnight, so long as you leave no mess? (If you are not allowed to keep your dog outside, and there is no other accommodation available, what choice do you have but to sneak it inside?)

A useful book is 'Holidaying with Dogs', and there is a Net site. One Net site that may be useful in finding accommodation that allows dogs is Stayz. (Click on the 'more' button and then tick the 'Pets allowed' box.)

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