Perth dog cafe welcomes change after red tape battle

Customers Alan Henderson with Lily and Lesley Henderson with Remy. FurBaby staff members Chloe Antunovich (Waitress, FurBaby), Julie Lovreta (Nanna) and Angie Antunovich (Manager, FurBaby). FRONT: Shari Lovreta (Owner, FurBaby) with Suki (LEFT) and Ishi (RIGHT). Photo: David Baylis
Customers Alan Henderson with Lily and Lesley Henderson with Remy. FurBaby staff members Chloe Antunovich (Waitress, FurBaby), Julie Lovreta (Nanna) and Angie Antunovich (Manager, FurBaby). FRONT: Shari Lovreta (Owner, FurBaby) with Suki (LEFT) and Ishi (RIGHT). Photo: David Baylis

AFTER two-and-a-half years, FurBaby Boutique and Cafe owner Shari Lovreta can finally offer customers and their dogs a place inside to sit.

The Dianella resident has battled red tape and mountains of paperwork since she had the idea seven years ago for a venue that people and ‘furbabies’ could enjoy together.

“I wanted to go somewhere to build a fur community,” she said.

“Internationally dogs are taken everywhere.

“There’s not the red tape we have in Australia.”

Ms Lovreta’s proposal was knocked back by several councils before she was met with support from the City of Stirling to take over a vacant site in Westminster. But it still took two years for her to open FurBaby in December 2014, with the paperwork involved overwhelming.

“You have to be prepared to fight the fight,” she said.

“If you think it’s going to be easy, it’s not. But it’s worth it.”

It has taken Ms Lovreta another two-and-a-half years to be able to allow customers to sit and eat inside with their dogs.

She wanted local government decision makers to have more “open dialogue” with business owners because often requirements were not practical.

“It’s really hard because they don’t live and breathe it,” she said.

“I think they need to open dialogue.

“If council says no, there’s no one you can talk to.”

FurBaby Boutique & Cafe owner Shari Lovreta with dog Ishi. Photo: David Baylis

Ms Lovreta is excited for the latest chapter of FurBaby and proud of the community she has built.

“I think the more dogs can be included in family activities, it helps with anxiety and socialisation,” she said.

“It’s important on weekends for family time to include dogs.

“The dogs (here) bring so much joy to everyone.”

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