Taking your dog for a walk is a great activity that benefits you and your furry friend, but it’s important to be aware of the risks and responsibilities of taking your dog into a public place. Being a responsible dog owner keeps you, your dog, the environment and other dogs and dog owners safe.
Dogs in Public Spaces
Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, dogs must be on-leash at all times in all parks and public places. The exception of this rule is designated off-leash areas. There are several off-leash areas within the Hills Shire including:
- Balcombe Heights Reserve
- Bernie Mullane Sports Complex (within the fenced area)
- Connie Lowe Reserve
- Coolong Reserve (within the fenced area)
- Crestwood Reserve
- Castle Hill Showground (in the lower dog arenas when there are no formal training or competitions)
Dogs must be supervised at all times in off-leash areas. The person supervising must:
- Be a competent person over 16 years of age
- Be able to control the dog/s by voice command
- Have no more than four dogs under their control
Restricted breeds or dogs declared as dangerous are prohibited from off-leash areas. Regulations at each of the off-leash areas could be different, so make sure you make yourself familiar with the signage at each of the off-leash areas you visit.
Dogs off OR on-leash are also prohibited from the following areas:
- Within 10 metres of children’s playground equipment
- Within 10 metres of food preparation areas such as public barbeques and kiosks
- Active recreation areas such as sports fields, ovals and courts (during the playing of organised sport)
- Public bathing areas
- School grounds unless with the permission of the principal
- Child care centres unless with the permission of the director
- Shopping areas unless with permission
Microchipping and Registering your Dog
Under the Companion Animals Act 1998 in NSW:
- Dogs must be microchipped by a veterinary surgeon or an authorised identifier by 12 weeks of age or before being sold or given away, whichever occurs first.
- Dogs must also be registered by six months of age unless they are exempt. The registration fee is a once-only payment, which covers the dog for its lifetime in NSW, regardless of any changes in ownership (discounts apply for dogs that have been desexed).
- Dogs must wear a collar that includes a name tag that shows the name of the dog and the contact details of the owner.
Removal of Dog Faeces from Public Spaces
Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, dog faeces must be removed immediately from a public place. Waste bag dispensers are provided at each of the off-leash areas, and dispensers have also been placed in areas around the Hills Shire where dog walking is popular.
Failure to comply with these requirements can result in hefty fines. For more information about dog ownership requirements, visit the Office of Local Government’s website.