New transport rule devastates dog owners

Pet owners are protesting en masse over the introduction of a public transport rule they believe is "backwards" and discriminatory.

Those who have travelled frequently with their pets on Sydney Ferries for years from July 1 will be banned from doing so, unless their animal is concealed in a carrier or box.

Hundreds are up in arms over the new rule, with dogs formerly permitted to ride ferries while being held or walked on a leash, so long as crew gave them permission.

A person holds four dogs on leashes on a Sydney ferry, with the Sydney Opera House in the background.
Dog owners have described the rule discriminatory and ridiculous. Source: Facebook

Ferry staff will no longer have power to use their discretion, with Transport NSW announcing crew would be required to refuse entry to any dog not in a box.

"All animals and pets must be in a carrier to travel on ferries and be under control at all times. Animals and pets on leashes will not be allowed. Staff have the right to refuse travel," a notice from Transport NSW read.

Simon Menzies, a councillor in Mosman on Sydney's Lower North Shore, is one of many fed up pet owners to be inconvenienced by the new rule, and has established a petition in protest.

Hundreds have rushed to sign the petition, and have taken to Facebook to express their opposition to the rule, which many have described as "ridiculous".

"Seems discriminatory against anyone with a larger dog," one wrote.

"It's a totally impractical rule thought of by some idiot that doesn’t realise large dogs go places with their owners as well," another said.

"What a load of bureaucratic rubbish. We are so behind the rest of the world who travel everywhere with their pets," someone else wrote.

Two ferries pass each other in Sydney Harbour, right near the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Banning pets from Sydney ferries has not been well received by animal owners. Source: AAP

"This is an absolutely ridiculous proposition. Carrying pets in a carrier? What is wrong with a leash? The rest of the planet acknowledges pets as 'sentient beings' and encourages the interaction and inclusion of our pets in our lives. Australia is going backwards," a fourth wrote.

The rule does not apply to passengers with registered assistance animals, according to the Transport NSW.

Pets must also be transported in a carrier when using other forms of transport in Sydney, including on buses, light rails and in taxis. In all cases, pet owners must get permission from the driver beforehand.

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