A blind Auckland woman was arrested last night in the Britomart Transport Centre after breastfeeding her guide dog in public, causing outrage among other passengers.
53-year old Margaret Smith, from Remuera in Auckland, climbed on the train with her dog in Manurewa around 9:30 PM last night, to get back to her hotel in Auckland City after spending the day visiting poor friends in state houses.
Soon after getting on board, she began breastfeeding her guide dog in front of dozens of other passengers and continued despite several requests from shocked witnesses.
Other passengers eventually called the police and after she refused to cooperate. After a few minutes of confrontation, her guide dog bit a policeman, so Ms. Smith was arrested, handcuffed and taken off the train with her animal.
Auckland Police spokesman, Constable Mauricio Ramirez, says the officers tried to simply convince her to stop but had no choice but to arrest her after one of them got bitten.
“The accused seemed unaware that what she was doing was illegal in this country and she showed very uncooperative. After her dog bit one of the officers, they had no choice but to arrest her.”
Ms. Smith says she had no idea that breastfeeding her guide dog in public was illegal in New Zealand, and says she would never had done it if she had known.
“In New Zealand, breastfeeding is a constitutional right! I’ve been breastfeeding my dogs for 25 years and never had any problems. This country is a dictatorship!”
Margaret Smith claims she was unaware that laws concerning breastfeeding were different than in her home country of Canada and insists she had no intention of breaking the law.
Ms. Smith faces 14 criminal charges, including gross indecency, resisting her arrest and assault on a police officer.