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Oscar’s shaggy tale lives on

No posthumous pardon: Oscar. Photo: Luke Daykin


This week Lord Mayor Clover Moore voted to put down my dead dog Oscar. An item listed for the December 2 council meeting was a year old request that a dubious “dangerous dog” declaration against my family pet be revoked. Last week I attended a City committee meeting, where I informed councillors that Oscar had died of cancer due to a sudden rupture to his swollen spleen three days after being spanked by a City of Sydney appointed inspector. A majority of Councillors across the political divide offered their condolences.

When the matter was again listed this week, Living Sydney councillor Angela Vithoulkas moved “That Council note that Mr Gibbons has advised council that Oscar is deceased; that Council extend its condolences to Mr Gibbons; that posthumously Council revoke the Dangerous Dog Order placed on Oscar.”

Green, Liberal, Labor and Independent councillors alike voted in support of the motion to restore Oscar’s reputation. Council’s own staff had recommended that the “dangerous dog” declaration be repealed. The Lord Mayor and her block of councillors voted in unison to reject the motion.

Oscar first met Ms Moore nine years ago, when he was an eight-week old rescue pup and she had just been elected Lord Mayor. Over the ensuing years she observed Oscar first hand at her own Town Hall Christmas Party as well as more festivals, events, protests, cafes and parks than you could throw a stick at. Ms Moore was always cordial towards Oscar, who was always well behaved in her company.

Council’s pursuit of Oscar always seemed like it had more to do with wanting to muzzle me than my poor family pet. After observing the Lord Mayor’s chief of staff James Zanotto patrolling outside my house to ensure I was complying with control orders against Oscar, I wrote a letter of complaint to the City CEO, Monica Barone, about Mr Zanotto’s conduct on August 15 and received a letter dated August 19 that a response would be sent. No reply has been received.

On September 6 2013 I received a legal letter from Ms Moore’s lawyers threatening to sue me for an article reporting that the Lord Mayor’s office had rejected a development application for home improvements in order to punish a perceived political opponent. We never retracted our report.

Having threatened to sue me personally, I assumed Ms Moore would step aside in any further votes relating to me personally. Under state law, councillors must declare a conflict of interest and remove themselves from any vote whether the conflict is financial or personal in nature, as long it might be perceived that their conflict could in anyway effect how they voted. Despite appearing to have a conflict with me personally, Ms Moore refused to step aside, instead voting to besmirch poor Oscar’s reputation.

Not that it’s anything personal.

Lawrence Gibbons is the publisher of this newspaper

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