I wonder if Yankalilla District Council took any account of the following evidence from the Animal Welfare League before attempting to discourage dog ownership by stopping their freedom of exercise:
Pets as Social Enablers
A study by the University of Western Australia’s School of Population Health found that more than 50% of dog owners and 40% of pet owners in general meet people in their neighbourhood as a result of their pet, and more than 80% of dog owners talk to other people when out walking their dogs2,3. These social bridges are referred to as ‘the glue that holds society together’, also known as social capital. The building of social capital is known to have positive effects on the health and economic viability of a society.
The positive impact of pets on cardiovascular health was first recognised in the early 1980s when a study found that pet owners were much less likely to die in the 12 months following a heart attack than non-pet owners4. The results were then replicated in the mid 1990s. It is this specific area of research the made the medical community take notice of the ‘pets are good for you’ premise.
Less Visits to the Doctor
Several studies have shown that pet ownership may influence the need for medical services. They have clearly demonstrated that dog and cat owners make fewer annual visits to the doctor and spend less time in hospital5.
So far, I have yet to see any evidence that hooded plovers help anyone. On the contrary, they seem to induce the crippling Miss Haversham Syndrome, which causes the sufferer spasms of anguish at the sight of an animal having fun.