Dogs in public spaces

Your responsibilities

The law requires you to ensure the following conditions are met when your dog is in a public place. Fines apply for breaches.

  • Your dog must be under the effective control of a competent person by means of an adequate chain or leash. The exceptions to this are: dogs exhibited at a show or engaging in obedience or agility trials or a dog secured in a cage or in an approved off-leash area;

  • If your dog is being exercised in an approved off-leash area it must always be under effective control of a competent person;

  • You are not permitted to walk more than four (4) dogs at any one time in an on-leash or an off-leash area;

  • Greyhounds must be muzzled at all times when in a public place, except if the greyhound has successfully completed an approved greyhound retraining program and the greyhound wears an approved collar when it is in a public place;

  • If your dog defecates in a public place it is an offence not to remove the faeces; and

  • Dogs are prohibited in children's play areas, food preparation / indoor consumption areas, recreation areas, public bathing areas, school grounds, child care centres, shopping areas and wildlife protection areas.

Off-leash areas

Leash-free zones allow dogs to exercise off the lead so they can 'burn off' excess energy in a safe environment without being a nuisance to the general public. They also provide an important socialisation experience with other dogs. By providing these opportunities, dogs are less likely to exhibit nuisance behaviour due to boredom and frustration when confined to their yard. The list below shows the leash free areas in the MidCoast region. Please note that each area has specific leash free times and that dogs still need to be under effective control.

Dogs on beaches - Great Lakes region

Nine Mile Beach, Tuncurry is an off-leash area as shown in the off-leash map(PDF, 649KB). Dogs can be walked on leads only between 5am-9am and 5pm-8pm on the following beaches:

  • Tuncurry Beach - between the breakwall and northern Beach Street car park access track
  • One Mile Beach, Forster 
  • Boomerang Beach 
  • Sandbar Beach, Smiths Lake 
  • Blueys Beach 
  • Bennetts Beach, Hawks Nest 
  • Yaccaba

You are responsible for the collection and removal of your dog's poo and you may be fined if you are not adequately controlling your dog.

Dogs on beaches - Manning Valley region

Your dog is welcome on or off a leash on beaches in the Manning Valley region as long as you keep it away from the following the areas:

  • More than 50 metres away from a patrolled swimming area
  • Blackhead ocean pool
  • Away from Little Tern nesting areas (Farquhar Inlet and fenced off areas)
  • Outside any National Parks exclusion zones*
  • Sign posted walking trails in bush land reserves

You are responsible for the collection and removal of your dog's faeces and you may be fined if you are not adequately controlling your dog.

*National parks exclusion zones include:

Dog agility track

Together with Forster Tuncurry Lions Club and the Beach Street Volunteer Group, we worked to build a Dog Agility Park at Beach Street Reserve, Tuncurry.  

Whilst dog agility is an actual sport, the park is for amateurs to provide mental simulation and activity for dogs. The park consists of weave posts for slalom manoeuvres, tunnels, ramps and jumps where dogs can test each discipline and eventually race against owner and the clock.

Dogs in outdoor dining areas

Your dog can join you for a coffee and socialising, in outdoor seating areas and with the permission of the food business operator if it is:

  • on a leash and under your control and it is;
  • not fed and
  • kept on the ground. 

If your dog is Dangerous or Restricted dog, it may not join you in this instance. 

Assistance animals

An assistance animal in NSW is a dog or other animal that is either:

  • accredited under a law of a State or Territory that provides for the accreditation of animals trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of that disability; OR
  • accredited by an animal training organisation prescribed by the Commonwealth; OR
  • trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of that disability, and, to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for an animal in a public place.

This is based on how assistance animals are defined in Commonwealth law (Disability Discrimination Act 1992). Currently neither the Commonwealth nor NSW laws provide for the accreditation of assistance animals. A working dog cannot also be an assistance animal. 

For more information on assistance animals, visit the Office of Local Government website.