The Story Of How Boofhead The Collie Ended Up In Front Of A Judge
Boofhead took his fight to the top.
If every dog really does have its day, then mark down August 17 as the day of “Boofhead The Bearded Border Collie”.
A Federal Court judge today ruled in favour of the 11-year-old pup and his human Peter Reurich, after finding the pair were the victims of discrimination at their local RSL Club on the NSW South Coast.
‘Boof’, as he’s known to his mates, is an assistance dog certified by mindDogs Australia to help Reurich with anxiety, depression and panic attacks. He wears a bib that clearly reads ‘Assistance Dog’ and Reurich carries a license card proving his training.
They go everywhere together and are probably apart less than two hours each day.
“He helps me keep calm. He keeps me mostly calm. If someone’s upsetting me, normally he keeps me calm,” Reurich told TEN Eyewitness News.
While Boof is neither a seeing eye dog nor a guide dog, under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 he is guaranteed access to all public places. That includes their local RSL -- the Jervis Bay Club, ironically it was formerly known as the Husky RSL.
Between Boxing Day 2014 and July 10 2015 the club was found to have unlawfully discriminated against Reurich on eight occasions. The breaches included denying Reurich and Boof access, putting terms on what services he’d be provided and taking away his membership.
Boof sat through a week of legal proceedings in the court. Court officers brought him a bowl with water that had the coat of arms of the court on it.
Outside court, Reurich was emotional, yet relieved.
“I feel happy. I’m disappointed it took so long. Justice should be a lot easier for people to get,” he said.
“There’s other people that get discriminated against like me and they walk away crying. And to me that’s not good enough”.
The Jervis Bay Club has been ordered to pay Reurich $16,000 plus interest in compensation for pain and suffering. It’s less than what Reurich’s legal team had requested but should still be enough to buy Boof a lifetime of treats.
But the club hasn’t been ordered to issue a formal apology and it won’t be required to reinstate Reurich’s membership.
“The relationship between the parties has broken down to such a degree that it would not be productive or realistic to make orders in the nature of reinstatement of Mr Reurich to the Club,” Justice Markovic ruled.
The Club says it has no comment to make until its legal team finishes going over the 128 pages of findings.