Why are dogs allowed in cafes?

Dogs are as common in Australian cafes these days as smashed avocado and freshly-ground coffee. But should they be?

Diners adhering to the latest social trend pile into cafes with their four-legged friends and potentially threaten the health of cafe staff and other diners.

Surely, pet dogs present a threat to hygiene standards, particularly in an age of heightened awareness since the outbreak of COVID-19. While humans are now required to check in via an app, and to sanitise their hands, dogs are not. Dogs don’t sanitise their paws before their owners take brunch, and a lot of these dogs have come straight from the park or the beach where they have been rolling around in the grass, the mud or the sand.

Dogs have a seat at the table.

Many owners even set their dog on a cafe chair to eat and drink with them. The dog’s posterior, which may have recently ejected a dropping and has never seen a bidet, is thus placed on a seat which a future patron will occupy. Cafes wipe down tables, and clean cutlery and crockery, but I don’t remember seeing waitstaff wiping down a seat at a cafe.

How is this hygienic?

How is it allowed during COVID-19?

Pet dogs definitely present a threat to health and hygiene in areas of food preparation and consumption. For this reason, they are technically prohibited from public food preparation areas, such as communal barbecue areas at parks and beaches.

But my dog is clean

Owners will claim that their dog is clean. It gets washed, goes to the vet and is healthy.

How do we know that?

Cafe staff and other customers have to take the owner’s word for it. Every other person using that cafe has to trust that every dog is clean and not likely to threaten the hygiene and safety of the eatery.

We do it at home

Dog owners will argue that they let their dogs into their kitchens and dining rooms at home, and that they let their dogs eat from their floor or their dinner plates, or straight from their hands. They argue that it is no different to a dog eating at a cafe.

It is different.

Owners accept the risk of contamination when they obtain a pet. Owners know exactly where the dog has been before it enters the kitchen or the dining room. Owners know when the dog was last washed. Owners can also control their dog and stop it from doing soemthing that might threaten someone else’s health or safety. Strangers can’t. Dogs won’t automatically obey directions of a stranger, and dog owners often react with horror when someone else tries to control their precious pooch.

Maybe the current pandemic is an opportunity to remind people that dogs don’t belong in cafes.

Image: 2PhotoPots

Don’t ban the mullet.

A private secondary school in Sydney recently banned the mullet haircut. The controversial move provoked news articles and comments throughout Australia, most of which failed to address the effect on one group in particular – teachers. Waverley College became the latest private school to ban its students from sporting the iconic hairstyle because it was deemed inappropriate, and this move will simply create more stress for teachers.

What’s a mullet?

The mullet is ‘long at the back and short at the sides’ and is also described as ‘business at the front, party out the back’. It is a distinct hairstyle that was hugely popular in the 1980s and is trending once more. Boys at the exclusive school in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, as well as other private schools throughout the country, are following the fashion of the day as well as emulating their footballing heroes who have sparked a resurgence in the hairstyle.

How will teachers suffer?

Rules have to be enforced, and teachers have to enforce them.

How are rules enforced?

Teachers usually give students a verbal warning. Many teenagers ignore these. Teachers then give a written warning. Students often ignore these. Already, a situation of conflict has been established between the student and the teacher.

Teachers then contact the parents, to ask for their assistance in enforcing the school rues. In the past, most parents supported schools and teachers in the management of a child’s behaviour and school work, but not these days. Many parents not only fail to support teachers but always side with their children, some even go as far as verbally, socially or physically attacking teachers.

Remember, parents know their sons have mullets. Parents also know the school rules, but sent their sons to school with a haircut that the school deems inappropriate. Parents also sign up to the rules of the school when they enrol their children, and are fully aware that strict adherence to grooming and uniform standards is a tradition these schools inherited from the British public school system.

Teachers are not likely to find much support from parents. If parents fail to support the school, the onus for removing the mullet thus falls entirely upon the teacher.

It’s not a mullet

When is a mullet not a mullet?

When the student tries to argue their way out of a haircut. Students are likely to argue that their hairstyle is actually called something else and on that technicality, they cannot be forced to cut their hair. They will find proof on instagram, from a barber or another source to prove their particular hairstyle is not a mullet, and thus they cannot be forced to cut it off. Private schools are breeding grounds for lawyers and politicians.

Teachers will have to listen to this argument, before preparing lessons, before marking exams and assessments, before writing exams, before attending meetings, before writing reports, before counselling students, before protecting students from cyberbullying, before teaching students road safety, before keeping students off drugs and alcohol, before doing playground duty, before coaching a sports team…

Furthermore, the school will be forced to write a definition of a mullet. Teachers will be forced to draft legal-style documents outlining precisely what constitutes a mullet and how it differs from other hairstyles. This all takes time.

All of this while solving the literacy crisis in Australia.

All of this while solving the numeracy crisis in Australia.

Come back when you’ve cut your hair

Another disciplinary technique is to suspend the student until the hair is returned to an acceptable style. Many teenagers would see this as a reward rather than a punishment. Parents won’t be happy, because they’ll have to supervise the child at home, and because they’re not getting what they paid for. Teachers also suffer. Teachers will still have to modify and send work home to that student, as well as providing feedback and ensuring the student does not suffer academically. Thus, even though the student knowingly breaks the rules, and the parents knew their child was breaking the rules, the teacher is still expected to ensure the student learns as much as they would have if they had not been suspended.

Human rights abuse

Students will argue that it is a violation of their human rights. This is not a joke. Modern-day school students invoke their human rights in response to the most minor incidents at schools, and it is not fanciful to predict that a boy at Waverley College will argue that cutting off his mullet is a violation of his human rights.

In the past, teachers could have told the boy he was being ridiculous, and to stop complaining and accept the consequences of his actions. But not anymore. Accusations of human rights violations, even regarding a haircut, must be taken seriously. This means more time, more meetings, more paperwork and more scrutiny for teachers. Meanwhile, the boy retains his mullet.

Teachers will be forced to refer to the definition of a mullett, which they drafted, in order to protect themselves from the very real consequences of being accused of violating a child’s human rights.

Many would argue that fashion is the biggest loser every time someone sports a mullett, but when that mullett is worn by a school student, teachers are the biggest losers.

If you’ve read this far, you might hink this is ridiculous, that this is exaggerated, that this would never happen. It does. This is what teachers are forced to tolerate on a daily basis in Australian schools. Creating another rule in response to a fashion trend is simply dumping more work on overworked and underpaid teachers.

Throughout this entire process, the private school is protecting its image, the parents are protecting their children, and the students are protecting their hairstyle. Who is protecting the teachers?

Image:www.nypost.com

Safe Injecting Space Planned for Mackenzie’s Bay.

Drug addicts will be able to legally consume any form of illicit drug at Mackenzie’s Bay after Waverley Council declared the beach an open-air safe injecting space.

Hard core junkies, professional footballers and recreational users will be free to inject, sniff, snort, smoke or imbibe any illicit substance they chose with complete impunity, and police and Rangers will take no action against any person within the signposted designated area of Mackenzie’s Bay and Gaerloch Reserve.

Council alluded to dog owners in explaining the rationale behind the shock decision.

“Dog owners claim that they should be allowed to take their dogs to Mackenzie’s Bay because they have been breaking the rules for years anyway,” stated a spokesperson for Waverley Council.

“Drug users have also been illegally consuming drugs for years, so they should be allowed to use the bay as well. We really owe a great deal of gratitude to dog owners for opening our eyes to the possibility of creating a safe and non-judgemental space for people to enjoy their drug taking,” continued the spokesperson.

Council recounted how owners have given their dogs free rein over the space and enjoyed the lack of regulation that is applied to other beaches within the municipality, and that local residents will be elated to learn that drug users will be extended the same privilege.

“We are also confident that tourists flocking to the coastal walk will be delighted to see a beach full of drug addicts enjoying the lovely bay. It makes a great backdrop for a selfie.”

Council has subsequently been forced to reverse the current alcohol ban on all of its beaches, because alcohol is also a drug. As a result, residents are advised to leave footwear on at all times to protect their feet from shards of glass, and to take gloves and rubbish bags to pick up other people’s waste after alcohol-fuelled celebrations.

Bemused residents oppose the move, and argue that the presence of drug users will detract from the experience of the public who want to use the beach. They also pointed out that used needles, bongs and other drug paraphernalia will be left on the beach.

Council reminded residents that dog droppings and plastic bags have been left on the beach for years, but this hasn’t forced Rangers to enforce the rules which prohibit dogs from the beach.

“Furthermore, as one owner told us, anything left behind at the beach will eventually be washed into the ocean by the tides. Dog faeces is already harming marine life and fish, as well as posing a health risk to swimmers at Mackenzie’s and Tamarama, so a few needles and traces of meth won’t make too much difference.”

Image: http://www.frugalfrolicker.com

This article was first published in The Beast magazine, November 2020.