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Owner responsibilities in a public place

All dogs in New South Wales must be on a lead when in a public place, unless in a designated off-leash area.

A dog that is in a public place must be under the effective control of a competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash that is attached to the dog and that is being held by (or secured to) a person.

Roaming dogs have the potential to cause community nuisance through a variety of unwanted activities including:

  • defecating on public or private properties
  • destructive behaviour towards property
  • potential for traffic accidents
  • harassing / aggressive behaviour towards others dogs or animals
  • worst of all, an attack on another animal or person.

Many owners fail to realise their pet, which in many instances is an extension of their family, may be a nuisance to the rest of the neighbourhood. The best way to address these issues is to:

  • ensure that your dog is always walked on a lead enabling you to adequately control your dog at all times whilst in a public place.
  • adequately confine your dog to your property ensuring the dog does not escape and roam around.

An infringement notice may be issued for not complying with relevant laws.

Dog offences and penalties

 The NSW Companion Animals Regulation 2018 sets out the regulations and penalties for owning a dog in NSW. In August 2018, some of the penalties changed.
Offence Penalty
Not picking up dog poo in a public space


Dog in prohibited area, roaming, not under control in public place or off-leash in an on-leash area $330
Unregistered Dog $330
Dog without microchip  $180
Dog rushes, attacks, bites, harasses or chases any person / animal  $1320

Frequently asked questions

What do I do if I see a dog locked in a vehicle?

Please call Police immediately on "000".  Only Police have the authority to gain access to a vehicle to remove an animal.

Who can I contact if I am concerned about the welfare of an animal?

Please contact the RSPCA Cruelty Hotline on 1300 278 358 or 02 9770 7555, to report any animal welfare concerns.