‘I’m taking the dog’: What happens when couples with pets break up?

Legally Blondefans remember the scene where Reese Witherspoon’s character Elle Woods, a Harvard Law student, helps reunite her manicurist friend Paulette Belafonte (played by Jennifer Coolidge) with her bulldog, Rufus.

Standing at the door of the trailer Paulette and her ex-husband once shared, Elle lectures him about common law marriage and the equitable division of the assets. “Huh?” he asks quizzically. “I’m taking the dog, dumbass,” Paulette yells as she grabs her beloved pooch and runs for the car.

It’s an iconic moment in rom-com movie history,and one that gets played out in similar ways all the time in real life when couples who own a dog together break up.

As couples now tend to put off marriage and children until later in life, getting a pet together has become a big step for many couples looking to advance their relationship.

“I felt like getting a dog together was more solid than a ring,” said Liz Szwejbka, a 25-year-old social worker fromNew York, of getting her dog, Moose, with her boyfriend. “A ring you can take off and give back. … Owning a dog is a whole different story.”

Sharing a pet together can teach couples a lot about their compatibility as future spouses. “If you have a pet, you’re forced to negotiate more, trust each other more,” psychotherapist and relationship counsellor Rachel Dack said. “It’s a great way to gauge your capability as a team.”

But relationship experts warn that it’s important to wait until your relationship is sure to go the distance before adding a furry family member.

Pets introduce time, financial and travel constraints. Restless puppies waking you up at all hours of the night, and expensive boarding facilities and finding little “gifts” on the new carpet can all create stress in the relationship, at least temporarily, while you’re adjusting.

“If you’re concerned about your relationship, speak up about that before you involve a pet,” Dack said.

Even trickier than raising a pet together is figuring out what to do with it if the relationship ends. Often, both people want to keep the pet in their life, but maintaining joint custody post-breakup can be problematic.

Singledom and pet custody …. Photo: John Veage

For one, “it drags out contact that is not useful for the person who is struggling to move on,” Dack said.

Matchmaker and chief executive of Exclusive Matchmaking Susan Trombetti stressed that after a tough separation, it’s important to let yourself heal. “You need a clean cut until you’re over it, so you can’t be sharing a dog.”

Who should ultimately end up with the the pet depends on who can best care for it. “You have to have the pet’s best interest at heart,” Trombetti said.

Mary Flaherty, a 26-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, who works in finance, found herself left to care for a dog and cat alone after she and her ex broke up. “He said I should take the animals. He didn’t even offer to do anything,” she said. “He didn’t want to deal with it.” Ultimately, she decided the animals would have a better quality of life living with her mother.

If neither person can provide adequate care for the animal alone, sometimes giving it up becomes the only option, as was the case with Chris Michaels. After the 25-year-old truck driver parted ways with his girlfriend, their individual time and financial constraints became an issue.

“Since she wasn’t able to take care of them and neither am I because of my job, the only option was to surrender them (to a shelter),” he said. “But both have been adopted into loving homes since then.”

According to Matt Williams of the Humane Rescue Alliance, while breakups aren’t the main reason people surrender pets, it is a contributing factor. When individuals are having issues tending to a pet alone but don’t want to relinquish them, the shelter will work with them to figure out their options and help create a care plan, he said.

While discussing the possibility of the relationship failing isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, having a contingency plan in place in advance can lessen some of the burdens of a breakup, especially if it’s a messy one.

“A lot people reach out to me when they have a breakup and a very common, painful dimension in the breakup is ‘But we have this pet together, what do we do?’,” said Elisabeth LaMotte, a psychotherapist and founder of D.C. Counseling and Psychotherapy Center.

“I think it’s very important to discuss what you would plan to do if the relationship doesn’t last.”

Liz Szwejbka’s sister Marissa Szwejbka, a 27-year-old special-education teacher who also lives in Buffalo, resorted to taking legal action after a broken engagement to gain custody of her dog, Charlie.

“The first thing I said was ‘I’m taking the dog,’ ” she said.

As inLegally Blonde,Marissa Szwejbka enlisted the help of a friend who was in law school at the time. “She helped me draft a division of the assets which outlined everything, including me keeping Char,” she said.

Hunter RFS crews out and about for Get Ready Weekend

THE imageswere familiar, but disturbingly early.

Newcastle Herald photographer Max Mason-Hubers’ dramatic photographs of the runaway Richmond Vale fire on Wednesday were a warning, if a warning iseven necessary, about the bushfire danger that’s a reality of life in , even in early September.

A few days earlier, while most of us werestill wearingjumpers and jeans, the weather forecasts flagged Wednesday as the early spring day that would end up feeling like summer. And so it did.

A balmy early breeze had kicked up, and warmed up, by 9am. It wasn’t too long before the NSW Rural Fire Service’s extremely helpful and valuable “Fires Near Me” site detailed fires across the state.

The vast majority were small and relatively easy to get under control.

The one red, out of control fire on the RFS map was at Richmond Vale, where fire crews battled strong winds, choking smoke and afire front that showed just how dry the Hunter is, even now, and just how quickly a full-blown emergency can develop.

We acknowledge the outstanding work of firefighters in controlling and containing the fire and protecting the community, yet again.

This weekend we can thank fire crews directly for the service they’ve already given the community –sometimes for years –and offer support before the summer season ahead.

RFS stations across the Hunter will be open on Saturday and Sunday as NSW Rural Fire Service holds a Get Ready Weekend, where people can talk to firefighters about how to prepare their homes and families for summer.

RFS crews will also be at other community venues, shopping centres and local parks, to spread the word about how to keep safe in the coming months.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons repeated that the dry and warm conditions of the past week, combined with a relatively dry winter, means “we’re facing a potentially dangerous bush fire season”.

There will be some in the community who will dismiss that statement by saying “We’ve heard it all before”.

Yes, we have, because it’s a fact we have to face each year. It’s also a fact that in some years the potential of a dangerous bush fire season becomes deadly reality, which is why we should always be prepared.

​Issue: 38,598.

What a load of bull: Cow runs amok at WA Parliament House

Did Winston want to beef up the numbers of Liberal MPs at Parliament? Photo: Ten News PerthWhen I heard there was a steer running around Parliament House, my first thought was the treasurer and premier had donned a cow suit to distract West Aussies away from the recent brutal state budget.

Bovine baloney aside,a steer actually hoofed it away from a herd of waiting media and politicians on Wednesday morning at Parliament House.

I mean, you expect the occasional bit of bull to come from pollies from the top of the hill, but this is absurd.

Winston and his bovine buddy Clementine were on the grassy knoll of parliament helping to promote mental health awareness as part of the RUOK? Day.

No Bull: A steer on the lose at the seat of WA politics. Photo: Ten News Perth

The handler lost control of Winston who appeared to make a beeline for an ABC cameraman but at the last moment did a sidestep that Wallabies’ great David Campese would be proud of.

The steer’s last seconddecision to dodge the cameraman will only fuel the conspiracy inside the bowels of the Liberal party about the left-leaning media in WA steering the agenda.

There is also a rumour the cow got spooked after it got a whiff of the Liberals’ election bloodbath wafting from the corridors of parliament and thought it was heading into an abattoir.

(Maybe given the minuscule number of Liberal MPs left after the March election caning, the steer wanted to help beef-up the numbers for the opposition?)

While Winston was a no show at the media conference, Clementine did her best to keep the absurdity going by peeing all over the grass in front of Parliament House.

Regional Affairs Minister Alannah MacTiernan, who has always shied away from running with the cattle in her own party, couldn’t resist the political opportunity to seize on the moment. “The cow’s pissing it in,” she said.

Dardanup farmer Peter Milton tried to steer the media conference back on the subject of men’s mental health, but left journalists slightly bemused by saying Clementine would be appearing at a barbecue in the coming days.

A quick-thinking journalist wanted to know whether the cow was going to be the guest or on the menu.

Mr Milton said Clementine would be “walking away” from the BBQ.

“It was Winston’s first day out of the shed in three months, his first public appearance. I guess he got a bit embarrassed,’ Mr Milton said.

“He’s got another appointment tomorrow at an RUOK? barbecue, south of Bunbury.”

WAtoday understands Winston has been approached by numerous political parties as a possible candidate in 2021 WA state election.

The Canberra Times.

Bonza! Scrabble launches Aussie slang edition

ns are now able to use words such as “bonza” and “g’day” in one of the world’s most popular board games. Photo: Joe ArmaoOnya, Scrabble.

Word nerds can now officially use n English’s more colourful words to rake up high scores.

Mattel, the company that distributes the popular board game, unveiled its highly-anticipated n edition of Scrabble on Thursday.

“It’s a fun twist on the classic game of Scrabble,” the company’s marketing manager Jacinta Whitehead said. “It allows you to use Aussie slang words on the boardand you actually get bonus points for every slang word you use with your tiles.”

However, embracing Aussie slang created a problem for those devising the rules for the new-look board game: how to spell a word that isn’t often written down?For example, is the slang word for breakfast “brekkie” or “brekky”?

Sometimes, both variants are acceptable. For example, the Macquarie Dictionary has both “exy” and “exxy” as acceptable substitutes for “expensive”.

Mattelsidestepped this linguistic puzzle- and the controversy surrounding whether or not it’s “potato cake” or “potato scallop” – by decidingthe most common way to spell a word would win the day. The list of acceptable slang words was drawn up from around 20,000 submissions.

“The words were crowdsourcedfrom all over ,” Whitehead said. “A really interesting one was the shortened version of schnitzel, which for me is ‘schnitzy’ but for others it’s ‘schnitty’.”

Some of Whitehead’s favourite words allowed in the new gameinclude “stonkered” – which means perplexed or to fail at something – and “biffo”, which refers to an argument or brawl.

“Only Aussies can make a fight sound friendly,” she said.

Some of the words allowed in Aussie Scrabble include:

arvoambosbarbiebrekkiecozziedipstickekka (the annual Brisbane show)footyg’dayheapsjournolippymoolahnuddy (naked)ockerpashpavprezzyraptsalvossickiestrewthstrayatinnytogsuey (a U-turn)vinnies (St Vincent De Paul’s)wowserxing (an animal crossing)yabby

North Queensland Cowboys end Parramatta Eels’ season, but Jason Taumalolo faces nervous wait

Cowboys end Eels’ season but Taumalolo faces nervous wait TweetFacebookPictures: AAPParramatta’s season is over, but perhaps so too is that of North Queensland wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo.

The Eels’ premiership drought will now stretch into a 32nd year after the Cowboys once again defied the odds to march to within one game of an unlikely grand final appearance. Whether Taumalolo will be part of the side that takes on the Roosters next weekend remains to be seen after he put a shoulder charge on opposing No.13 Nathan Brown.

The Cowboys have already progressed further than most expected without injured stars Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott, but a suspension to Taumalolo would be a blow that perhaps even Paul Green’s men wouldn’t be able to recover from.

RELATED:Cowboys stun Eels in semi-final

The blue and golds came into the game as favourites after pushing Melbourne to the limit, but couldn’t reproduce that performance against the plucky side from Townsville.

The battle of the 13s was a ripper. The buy of the year against, to borrow a line from Billy Moore, the buy of the decade. Taumalolo and Nathan Brown were again among the best for their teams. They seemed to find each other on multiple occasions, although Taumalolo’s hit on Brown in the 29th minute didn’t appear a legal one. While the whistleblowers took no action, replays appeared to show a copybook shoulder charge. It will be a nervous wait for ‘JT’ and his side.

Taumalolo again ran for more than 200 metres. Tackling him is often an exercise in futility. Just ask Daniel Alvaro. The Parramatta forward was a tad lucky to be playing after throwing a reckless elbow against the Storm. Luck deserted him when he got his head in the wrong spot trying to stop ‘JT’. He knocked himself out just five minutes into the game and didn’t return.

The match also marks perhaps the last for in the NRL for Semi Radradra. He will leave the game not only as the pre-eminent winger but also its most dangerous player. His latest try, the 82nd of his short but eventful career in the 13-man code, was a cracker. When Te Maire Martin put up an attacking crossfield kick, it would have been a Cowboys try had one of his teammates come down with it. Instead, Radradra leapt above the pack, marked it like he was playing at the adjoining Spotless Stadium, and ended up putting the ball under the posts 100 metres upfield. When he is in one of these moods, there is no stopping him.

Radradra has the No.2 on his back, but couldn’t be confined to the sideline. There were times when he was playing in the centres, while on other occasions he was pushing forwards out of the way in the middle of the field. Toulon have got themselves a special buy indeed.

While he can score them, so too can opposing wingerflanker Kyle Feldt. His put-down – fighting the sideline, the cover defence and gravity- was just as spectacular.

The Cowboys’ third try could well have been the eight-point variety. Microseconds after Coen Hess put down the ball, Eels hooker Cameron King cleaned him up with a late hit. The visitors took umbrage, players ran in from everywhere and punches were thrown. Officials decided not to give Ethan Lowe an additional shot at goal.

This is will go down as yet another season of disappointment for the Eels. They finished fourth to earn two cracks in the finals, their first since 2009, but went out in straight sets. Two of the tries they scored were from opposition kicks. The only other, from the boot of Mitchell Moses, came after the full-time siren.

Wrecking ball: Jason Taumalolo goes for a gallop. Photo: AAP

Brown was again outstanding in a beaten team. However, their attack, so potent during the back end of the season, didn’t click on the biggest stage. Perhaps the physical and emotional energy they expended against the Storm last weekend was greater than that used by the Cowboys in their extra-time thriller against the defending premiers.

The difference was Michael Morgan. He may be playing without Johnathan Thurston but is playing more and more like him in recent months. With Morgan firing, particularly if Taumalolo is available, the Roosters will do well not to underestimate them. Too many teams have already made that mistake.

Tasmanian tiny house movement dreams big

Living big in tiny houses One of the tiny house models from Wagonhaus, out of North-West Tasmania. Picture: supplied

Inside a Wagonhouse, where the outside is welcomed in.

Tiny houses still include the necessities.

The kitchen inside a Wagonhaus tiny house.

The bathroom of a tiny house.

Sunlight streams into the living area of a Wagonhaus tiny house.

TweetFacebookGone are the days when a sustainable home was equated with mudbricks and limited electricity functions.

The sustainable homes of today are intelligent, innovative, and attractive.

Sustainable House Day has been run nationally since 2001, and invites the interested public to step inside these environmentally friendly homes to discover more about the new age of building practices.

In Tasmania, five properties will take part in the day on Sunday, September 17.

Some have been renovated to incorporate sustainable aspects, others have been purpose-built to function in harmony with the environment.

The Bell sisters have brought an international sustainable house concept to Tasmania –the tiny house movement.

The tiny house movement, the details of which are exactly as the name suggests, began in the United States and quickly spread across Europe, and into the Southern Hemisphere.

Katie and Tamika Bell began Wagonhaus last year, and on Sunday, will open their tiny doors into big ideas, at Forth.

Since launching, Katie said the business, which operates out of the North-West, has been flooded with interest, and is booked out into next year.

Katie attributes it to a fast-growing level of engagement with environmental awareness and sustainability.

“More and more people are becoming excited by eco-tourism, farm-to-plate food systems, permaculture and thermally efficient design,” she said.

“I think it is, in part, a reaction to the perception that government and big business are failing in their role as responsible environmental custodians.

“Increasingly, everyday n families want to take back control over their environmental future.”

The smallest Wagonhaus build is less than one-tenth of the size of the average n house, at 2.4 metres by 3.5 metres.

The largest, the family model, is 2.4 metres by ninemetres. They still include bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and lounges.

“I think the most surprising thing people find is just how spacious it feels,” Katie said.

Katie studied at the University of Tasmania’s School of Architecture in Launceston, and said she and her sister were inspired by the movement’s success overseas, coupled with Tasmania’s fostering attitude towards innovation.

“My sister and I thought to ourselves, ‘the tiny house movement might have started overseas, but it is here, in our incredible Tassie backyard, that we can take it to the next level’,” Katie said.

“As young entrepreneurs, both Tamika and I know just how difficult it can be for young people in Tasmania.”

Katie said the sisters were inspired by their own circumstances: “We did not have access to secure, affordable housing, let alone the freedom to travel, to live debt-free, to live in harmony with nature and to protect the environment.”

They further saw the challenges that faced community members in Northern and North-West Tasmania – housing affordability, the cost of education and transport, and workforce changes.

“Wagonhaus Tiny Homes is the vehicle helping us face that challenge head-on,” Katie said.

“Our tiny homes are going to drive change (both literally and metaphorically) for our communities, by creating more green jobs, more sustainable development and encouraging a shift towards green living at home and in our community. I believe in thinking globally and acting locally.”

As well as their size and ethos, the compact homes incorporate eco-friendly architectural design to boost their sustainability factor.

They use passive solar gain, double-glazing, universal insulation, and cross ventilation for starters, and then there’s the off-grid extras of solar power and composting toilets.

“While rapid technological development such as solar panels, lithium batteries and composting toilets have certainly made the dream of building green homes easier, much of our work still lies in harnessing old wisdom,” Katie said.

“Technological fixes can improve things, but more important is thorough planning in the design and construction phase.

“Attention to detail, correct positioning of the building envelope and the use of thermally appropriate materials is the main game when it comes to designing an eco-friendly home.”

The Wagonhaus tiny homes will be on display at Forth, from 10am to 4pm.

Other homes taking part in Sustainable House Day in Tasmania are:

“Our retirement home”, Evandale: A renovated 1970s house that has been built to sustain its “elderly” residents into the future. It includes recycled timber and stained glass, and a drip-irrigation garden with vegetable patches and a healthy mix of flora.“Renovation”, Westbury: Five years on from its initial renovations, the owners of this property are inviting the public to see how its updates have aged. Its attributes include bamboo flooring, a greywater system, a low-emission woodfire, and outside, a composite wooden deck and a cob pizza oven.“Organic living”, Sheffield: This house is an owner designed and built, solid timber construction. It was designed to be a self-performing passive house, which utilises a range of timbers to maximises their best assets.“Andrew’s House”, Devonport: This home scores an 8.1 rating for passive solar, and has been designed to be energy efficient. The owners brag that with their solar power system, they haven’t paid a power bill since they moved in 12 months ago.All properties will be open from 10am to 4pm on Sunday.

To find out more about Sustainable House Day, and to register to view a house, visit sustainablehouseday苏州夜网

Vehicle ‘black box’ could shed light on fiery Sydney Nissan GT-R crash

The Nissan GT-R R35, which burst into flames after crashing near Darling Harbour. Photo: SuppliedCrash investigators may soon turn to a vehicle “black box” to reveal what caused a fiery car crash in Sydney’s CBDin which three people were burnt to death.

Shortly before 3am last Saturday the white $200,000 Nissan GT-R R35 was travelling down Goulburn Street at speed, approaching Haymarket.

It is understood the car had only been bought days before the accident.

Joseph Bagala, 39, brothers Jeff and Steve Nasr, 39 and 31, and Bree Keller, 22, were just moments from the horror crash that would leave two families reeling and the latter three dead.

Brothers Jeff and Steve Nasr were farewelled by hundred of mourners on Friday. Photo: Facebook

Among car enthusiaststhe high-performance Japanese vehicle has earned the nickname “Godzilla”, dominating racing around the world, including the Bathurst 1000 in the 1990s.

The supercar can surge from zero to 100 km/h in 2.7 seconds, while its top speed is more than 300km/h.

From Leichhardt, Wiley Park and Narrabeen, just how Mr Bagala, the Nasrbrothers and Ms Keller came to be in the car together that night remains a mystery to the families.

NSW Police have confirmed “considerable speed … along with a loss of control” were major contributing factors in the accident, however they are yet to confirm just how fast the car was travelling when it flipped and burst into flames next to the Novotel Rockford hotel.

Crash investigators will examine every aspect of the accident and will now likely refer to the car’s event data recorder (EDR), which stores crash information, much like a “black box” flight recorder used in aviation.

The primary function of an EDR is to sense a developing collision and decide whether to deploy airbags and seatbelt pretensioners.

Crash investigations expert Mark George is one of about 20 civilians in skilled in analysing crash data.

A former military police warrant officer and NSW police sergeant, Mr George launched the inaugural crash data retrieval training course for n police and civilian crash investigators in 2011.

The Nissan GT-R R35 series, which retails for around $200,000.

At that time the Sydney metropolitan crash investigation unit said greater use of the technology in crash investigations was “coming”.

Mr George said most EDRs were housed in the airbag control module of a vehicle, “but they also kept a record of crash and pre-crash data”.

Northern beaches hairdresser Bree Keller, 22, who died in the horror crash. Photo: Instagram

He estimates about half of all n vehicles made since 2007 have the device.

“That data is useful for determining … impact forces, injury likelihood, and what the vehicle was doing immediately prior to collision,” he said, adding that it was rare for an EDR to be so damaged that the data could not be used, even in a fire.

On Wednesday the family of Ms Keller, a northern beaches hairdresser, spoke of their grief in the days it took for police for police to formally identify her body using DNA and dental records, due to the severity of the fire.

“The circumstances of her death are horrific and this week we’ve been having to live with the fact we can’t bring her home,” her mother Tania Keller said on Wednesday.

Stepfather Peter Francis said the entire family remained “at a loss” as to why Ms Keller was in the car, adding that the family did not know “any of the people in the car”.

According to court documents, Jeff Nasr appeared before Burwood Local Court last month for two separate AVO applications sought by police for two different women.

At the time of the accident he was also on bail for charges of destroying property and common assault.

It has been reported Steve Nasr was fined $800 after pleading guilty topossession of a prohibited drug in 2014.

Hundreds of mourners farewelled the Nasr brothers at a memorial service at St Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Punchbowlon Friday.

A hearse carrying two white coffins was led through the street by a procession of luxurycars and men on motorbikes, some covering their faces with bandanas.

Sole survivor and father-of-four Joseph Bagala remains at St Vincent’s Hospital in a serious but stable condition, after suffering serious burns and arm, rib and and head injuries.

A NSW Police spokesman said police from Sydney City local area command were “preparing a report for the information of the Coroner which will outline the full circumstances surrounding the deaths”.

The story,Vehicle ‘black box’ could shed light on fiery Sydney Nissan GT-R crash, first appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald.

Class action against The Cosmetic Institute over claims of botched breast surgeries

The class action case alleged The Cosmetic Institute breached duty of care. Photo: StockA group of women have launched a class action against ‘s largest cosmetic surgery clinic, alleging negligent breast augmentations left them with serious complications,including heart attacks, seizures, infections, chest wall deformities, pain, discomfort and psychiatric injuries.

The case, filed in the NSW Supreme Court, claims The Cosmetic Institute breached duty of care by providing a one-size-fits-all approach to breast augmentations.

It is being spearheaded by five applicants, including a mother from Western who suffered a heart attack after allegedly being administered high doses of local anaesthetic.

Others in the lawsuit include a NSW mother who says she suffered seizures as a result of high doses of local anaesthetic and a Queensland student who had emergency surgery after developing a severe infection after surgery.

The women are also taking action against Sydney plastic surgeon and TCI director Dr Eddy Dona, alleging he was responsible for designing, implementing and supervising the company’s approach to breast augmentation surgery, along with training the doctors who performed it.

Turner Freeman lawyer Sally Gleeson says the company has left a “trail of victims”.

“These women have suffered a range of complications including cardiac arrests from toxic doses of anaesthesia, lung punctures, infections and physical disfigurement,” she said in a statement on Friday.

In a statement of claim, TCI is accused of failing to properly train and supervise surgeons.

The claim alleges the company used an identical surgical technique regardless of a woman’s size or breast shape and did not perform procedures in accordance with standards.

TCI is also accused of not implementing adequate infection control.

“These women believed that the doctors treating them were surgeons who possessed the requisite skills and training to carry out these operations but the reality of the situation was quite different,” Ms Gleeson said.

“These women also share remarkably common experiences about the conduct of TCI, including the inadequacy of their treatment and attempts by the company to blame the women’s own anatomy for any poor outcomes.

“Every patient deserves competent treatment and follow up care. This class action is about delivering justice for this large group of women who continue to suffer from the impact of TCI’s failures to appropriately and safely carry out these procedures.”

TCI has clinics at Bondi Junction, Parramattaand the Gold Coast, and at Concord and Holroyd Private Hospitals, and says it is the country’s largest cosmetic surgery clinic.

TCI has been contacted for comment.


Man found dead with gunshot wound in Baxter in Melbourne’s south

A man who was found dead with a gunshot wound in a shed in Baxter has been described as a “typical battler” who was a “number one helper in the street”.

A 45-year-old man has been arrested after the man was found dead before 11am on Saturday in a Station Crescent home,about 50kilometres south of Melbourne.

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting and aretreating the man’s death as suspicious.

A Baxter man, believed to be known to the dead man, has been arrested and ishelping police with their inquiries.

Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen said they were called to a scene of a shooting involving a man in his 60s.

A neighbour, who didn’t want to be identified, said they heard a bang at about7.30am, but didn’t think much of it.

“It is a semi-rural area … and bangs are not that uncommon,” she said.

“Itstartledall the animals like crazy.”

She said they were shocked to hear about the death becausetheir neighbour was the “number one helper in the street”.

“He was lovely;he was a typical battler,” she said.

“He absolutely loved his dog. She was his world.”

“I couldn’t havea conversation with him without laughing.”

The neighbour said the man’s partner had died a few years ago and he shared the house with friends of his late partner, a family of three, to assist with the cost of living.

“It is a dual-occupancy; they shared meals together.”

She said the man’s dog was being looked after by another neighbour.

“It’s just horrible,” she said.”He was just a genuine, lovely man. A very friendly guy, he just helped everyone out.”

Station Crescentwas a quiet and safesuburban area without any crime, she said.

Anyone with information or who may have witnessed the incident is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report atwww.crimestoppersvic苏州夜网.au.

Why talk of same-sex marriage impinging on religious freedom is misconceived

Picture: theconversation苏州夜网Conservative religious organisations and politicians have played amajor role in preventing the introduction of same-sex marriage in and hope to do so again.

John Howardcitedconservative religious views when he banned same-sex marriage. Labor’s fear of losing religious voters to the Liberalscontributed to concessionsto the religious right, and saw it oppose same-sex marriage until 2011. Even then, Labor MPs opposed to same-sex marriage were granted an initialmoralconscience vote that contributed to a parliamentary votebeing lostunder the Gillard government.

Now, Malcolm Turnbull’s fear of alienating thereligious right in the Coalitionhas seen him agree to a plebiscite hepreviously opposed.

Conservative religious organisations are mobilising again. However, given increasing public support for same-sex marriage, including amongreligious adherents, they often argue that same-sex marriage is really aboutbroader issues, such as gender roles and parenting.

Talk of same-sex marriage impinging on religious freedom is misconceived: here’s why TweetFacebookWhat protections will be offered to people who work for church-run institutions such as schools, hospitals and universities?But he only meant some kinds of protection:

Will teachers be free to teach church teaching on marriage or will they be forced to teach a more politically correct curriculum?We were recently reminded sharply how strongthose protectionsalready are, givenreligious exemptionsfrom anti-discrimination law. Fisher’s Melbourne counterpart, Denis Hart,warnedthe church’s 180,000 employees against “any words or actions” – such as a gay wedding – that failed to “totally” uphold a “Catholic view of marriage”.

Religious organisations will remain free to refuse same-sex marriage if it is eventually introduced. Meanwhile, another group’s religious freedom seldom gets a mention.40 per centof n same-sex couples identify as Christian.

However, unlike inother countriesthat do not have government laws impinging on religious freedom by banning same-sex marriage, their marriages can currently not be religiously solemnised.

Clergy stand ready to officiate – “because of our faith, not in spite of our faith”, as someput it. Their religious freedom toadequately pastortheir LGBT congregants is currently constrained.

Not all Christian same-sex couples may want church weddings. The point about true freedom is having the choice.