Waverley, Randwick and Woolahra Councils have combined to develop the DogDobber App and rid the Eastern Suburbs of the scourge of irresponsible dog owners. The world-first initiative will allow residents to dob in a dog if its owner is breaking the rules, and to report their actions directly to council.
“Enough is enough,” read the joint statement from the three councils.
“Dogs and their owners have taken over every public space in the region and this App will return these spaces to the people.”
Compatible with any smart phone, the app enables users to upload photos of dogs. This information is electronically collated and reviewed for veracity, then used to issue a fine or relevant punishment to the registered owner of that animal. Users should attempt to photograph the collar of the dog, which should carry its details, in order for the dog’s owner to be notified.
Residents can photograph off-leash dogs in on-leash areas, dogs in areas that are off limits and owners who refuse to pick up after their dog.
“Residents can also provide photographic proof of dogs harassing kids while they’re kicking a footy at the park, playing on the swings, or building sand castles.”
Critics attacked the DogDobber App as an invasion of privacy which stigmatises dogs and their owners. Other claim it is completely unnecessary as council rangers are already employed to keep dogs where they should be, and that most dog owners are responsible.
In response, councils pointed out that if most dog owners were responsible, their pets would not be given free reign at Mackenzies Bay, the Clovelly rock pools and countless other public spaces. Councils also reminded owners that the best way to avoid being reported is to follow the rules.
Another area of the concern was the potential for children to be photographed. Council was quick to allay any fears that the technology could be used in this way.
“Any photograph of a minor, even if they are breaking the rules with a dog, will be reported immediately to police. If children are breaking the rules with their pet, this is less an example of irresponsible dog ownership and more an example of poor parenting.”
Councils called upon residents of the Eastern Suburbs to imagine public spaces free of marauding dogs and their droppings, where anyone can walk, play, enjoy a picnic, sunbake and enjoy living in paradise.
Randwick Council explained DogDobber operates separately from their Snap, Send, Solve App, and councils praised it as a triumph of inter-governmental collaboration and a successful fusion of state-of-the-art technology and community spirit. It will be live and fully operational at the beginning of next month.
First published in The Beast magazine, December 2021.