Sunday, 10 June 2007

Bingo's gone to the dogs...

It's not often that Venus Bay gets a mention in a major metro newspaper, but the fuss over at the community centre over whether local bingo players can take their best friends with them made into the Herald Sun today.

In what seems to be yet another case of council and council officers exercising their propensity to remove more joy from people's lives by banning another seemingly harmless act by members of the public, South Gippsland Shire Council has elevated petty bureaucracy to new heights.

In a small country town with little by way of services and activities for the residents, why would the council want to interfere with one of the small joys that enrich people's lives?

In the picture: Kathy Pettingill with Trixie, Violet Holloway with Jamie, and Maria Wilson with Princess and Mosci (obscured). Picture: Aaron Francis

Read the story below and make up your own mind.,21985,21876991-2862,00.html

Adrian Tame

June 10, 2007 12:00am

A BINGO war has broken out - destroying the tranquillity of a sleepy Victorian town - over a group of ladies who take their dogs when having a flutter.

On the one side are six women who take their companion dogs to bingo, weight watchers and art classes in Venus Bay in South Gippsland.

Lined up against them are the local council and a member of the community centre's management committee, who want to ban the dogs from the building.

The dog lovers have a formidable champion in former underworld matriarch Kathy Pettingill who, for several years, has called the bingo and organised weight watchers at the centre.

Mrs Pettingill, 72, said if the dogs ban was enforced it could mean the end of her Saturday afternoon bingo sessions.

"I doubt we'd have enough ladies to keep the bingo going, because if they ban the dogs, a lot of them won't come," Mrs Pettingill said.

"It's not as if they're great big wolfhounds running around the place. They're all little lap dogs and their owners like to have them with them all the time."

Bev Walker, a member of the management committee, begs to differ: "I have tolerated it for years, but it's out of control. I am sick of dogs running under my legs."

Another management committee member, Anita Booth, has always taken her dog with her to the centre and is opposed to the ban.

South Gippsland Shire Council by-laws allow only guide dogs for the blind inside municipal buildings.

A council spokeswoman said the council was meeting with both sides later this month to thrash out a solution agreeable to all.

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