Editorial May 19 2017

There is a time and a place for rules.

More importantly, there is still a time and a place in society for compassion.

The story of local lady Wendy Lawrence and her sole companion and furry friend Lou-Lou captured the heart of the Illawarra this week.

The Illawarra Mercury’s Desiree Savage broke the story on Wednesday afternoon that Wendy, who is homeless and lives in the dunes at Wollongong beach, had her beloved dog impounded by the council for being off a lead.

It was the sixth time the council had impounded the dog, meaning Wendy had to find the money to pay the fine to have Lou-Lou released.

Sure, by the letter of the law, Wendy broke the law.

But has all judgement and for people’s circumstances in life been completely lost in our society already?

We’ll forgive people of much more serious crimes, but throw the book at someone living alone and homeless for breaking a bylaw.

Lou-Lou hardly looks like a threat to society as we know it.

Wollongong councillor Bede Crasnich is certainly one person who believes the council should have acted more sensitively in this matter.

“You give these people a high-vis vest and a clipboard and the power rushes directly to their head … it’s not what they’re doing it’s the way they’re doing it,” Mr Crasnich said.

“I’ll be calling the general manager [on Friday], I want answers.”

On posting Wendy’s story on our Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon our office received numerous phone calls.

People generously offering to foot the bill for Wendy and bail out Lou-Lou.

One kind gentleman and dog lover, who has asked to remain nameless, went to the pound  on Wednesday afternoon and paid for Wendy’s fine.

The Illawarra Mercury picked up Wendy on Thursday morning and took her to be reunited with her four-legged friend.

In this case, the images of Lou-Lou and Wendy back together tell the whole story.

Stories like that of Lou-Lou and Wendy and the reaction of our community restore your faith in the humanity and compassion in our society. It exists.

We just need to find ways and means to spread it more broadly.