Dogs in Public Places

Woman sitting at a cafe with her dog

Public places are for the enjoyment of everyone, and when you take your dog into a public place you must make sure that it does not interfere with the safety or enjoyment of other people.

Properly Restraining Your Dog

When your dog is out in public, whether walking to the shops or visiting a park, it must be under the effective control of a competent person at all times. This means that it must be on a lead and under the control of someone who is capable of restraining the dog. Small children, for instance, may not be able to control large dogs and under these circumstances an adult should walk the dog.

It is recognised that dogs benefit greatly from the chance to run freely, and for this reason the Companion Animals Act requires councils to provide off-leash areas for the exercise of dogs.
These areas may only be available for limited hours, but at any time there must be at least one place in each council area where dogs can be exercised without a lead.
Find locations and information about leash free areas.

Cleaning Up After Your Dog

Cleaning up after your dog is part of being a responsible pet owner. If your dog leaves droppings in a public place or on someone else’s property, it is your responsibility to remove the faeces immediately and dispose of them properly.

Dog droppings pose environmental and health risks. Many diseases can be passed from animals to humans, even if the animal is showing no sign of ill health. Some of the diseases may be spread by direct or indirect contact with animal faeces.

Councils have a duty to provide bins for the disposal of dog faeces in places where dogs are often exercised, and you should look for these bins in your area. We have a number of bins with biodegradable bags in our off-leash parks. You can also Bring Your Own (BYO) bags, which can be purchased from pet stores.

How to Clean Up after your dog

Cleaning up after your dog is easy, here are some handy tips:

  • You can use plastic or biodegradable bags, trowels and poop scoopers. Personal bag carriers are available that attach to your dog’s leash to store plastic bags during walks. 
  • Keep your bags/pouches/pooper scoop products with your leash, as a reminder to take them with you.- If using the plastic bag method for cleaning up, simply put your hand inside the bag, pick up the dog dropping, turn the bag inside out and then seal. Carry it until you get a suitable disposal site. Wash your hands as soon as practical afterwards.

The NSW Companion Animals Act makes it an offence to not pick up dog faeces in a public place. Fines up to $330 apply.