Pets in public places and bushland

Your dog must, unless it is exempt from this requirement, be under the effective control of a competent person at all times when out in public.

This means that it must be on a leash and under the control of someone capable of restraining it.

A small child, for example, may not be able to control a large dog. Under these circumstances, an adult capable of restraining the dog should walk the dog.

A dog is not considered to be under the effective control of a competent person if the person has more than 4 dogs under his or her control.

This requirement does not apply to a dog:

  • In an off-leash area (but only if the total number of dogs of which its owner has control does not exceed 4). 
  • Engaged in droving, tending or working of stock.
  • Being exhibited for show purposes. 
  • Participating in an obedience class, trial or exhibition. 
  • Police dog.
  • Corrective services dog. 
  • Secured in a cage or vehicle or tethered to a fixed object or structure.

Dogs and cats in bushland

Bushland reserves conserve native flora and fauna and provide space for recreational activities such as walking and bird-watching. To protect these environments, dogs are only allowed in some bushland reserves if they are on-leash and under their handler’s control. Cats are banned from these reserves.

There are many off-leash dog parks in Ku-ring-gai where you can exercise your dog.

Companion Animal Act

Under the companion animal act dogs must be on leash while in public unless in an off leash area or a private residence.

"Public place" means:

(a) any pathway, road, bridge, jetty, wharf, road-ferry, reserve, park, beach or garden, and

(b) any other place, that the public are entitled to use.

The public are entitled to use fire trails and bush tracks, therefore dogs must be leashed and under control.

Where are dogs and cats banned?

Dogs and cats are not allowed in wildlife protection areas such as the Ku-ring-gai Flying-fox Reserve in Gordon, the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden in St Ives, and Brown’s Forest and the Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve in St Ives.

Dogs and cats are not allowed in national parks at any time, except for guide dogs, who can be taken into reserves when assisting their owners.

Pets are also banned from bushland when fox baiting is underway, as fox baits are lethal to dogs and cats.

Contact us if you’re unsure about where you can take your dog.

Map and information about off leash dog areas