Being a responsible dog owner

If you are a dog owner you have a responsibility to:

  • Microchip and lifetime register your dog, and attach a collar and identification tag with your contact phone number – visit this page to order your free engraved pet tag (conditions apply)
  • Secure your dog safely on your property
  • Desex your dog - Prevent potential behavioural and health issues and unwanted litters
  • Provide adequate exercise and environmental enrichment
  • Provide adequate shelter, fresh clean water and nutritionally enriched food
  • Provide regular training and socialisation
  • Contact Council to update your details on the Companion Animals register when you move house or change ownership (A dog declared as Dangerous or Restricted in accordance to the Companion Animals Act 1998, can not be sold or given away)
  • Ensure your dog is under effective control of some 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) the person while in a public place
  • Ensure your dog does not become a nuisance or annoy other citizen's in the community
  • Clean up and properly dispose of your dog's faeces in a rubbish receptacle

Dog off leash etiquette

New dog off leash etiquette signage has been installed in Inner West Council off leash parks. Council recommends that dog walkers follow these tips so that everyone is able to enjoy our shared spaces.


Inner West Council provides a number of off-leash dog exercise areas.

The use of parks by dog walkers is encouraged and recognised by Council as creating a positive sense of community if conducted in a responsible manner.

Signposts have been installed in many of our parks highlighting areas in which dogs can be exercised on and off leash. Some off leash areas operate on a time-share basis, meaning you can only exercise your dog off leash between designated hours each day or when organised sporting or training activities are not taking place.

Dog walkers must ensure their dog is under effective control at all times and does not become a nuisance or impede on the enjoyment of other park users. Dog walkers must clean up and properly dispose their dog's faeces.


Where you cannot take your dog

Please remember that dogs are not allowed on or off leash in the following places:

  • Inside a children's play area, or within 10 metres of one
  • Within 10 metres of a food preparation/consumption area
  • Recreation areas where dogs are prohibited
  • School grounds
  • Child care centres
  • Shopping areas where dogs are prohibited
  • Wildlife protection areas


Companion animal management

Introduced by the NSW State Government in 1998, The Companion Animals Act 1998 (the Act) and the Companion Animals Regulation 2018 (the Regulation), are to provide for the effective and responsible care and management of companion animals. A companion animal is currently defined under the Act as a dog or cat.

The Act and the Regulation replace the Dog Act 1966 and provide legislation for the identification and registration of companion animals and for the duties and responsibilities of their owners.

The Act and the Regulation came about in response to community expectations about the role and place of dogs and cats in society. The new State Government approach to companion animal management has provided Council with an opportunity to develop a strategic response to managing pets in our community. In response to this, on 6 September 2005, a Companion Animal Management Plan was adopted by Council to address the community's needs regarding the responsible management of companion animals in the area. A new, Inner West Council Companion Animal Action Plan is due for completion over the coming year.


Pets in the City

The Petcare Information and Advisory Service has produced a guide called Pets in the City.  This guide helps people decide whether they should have a pet, what the most suitable pet may be for them and their family, and how to enjoy life with a pet. Both potential pet owners and current pet owners would benefit from reading this guide.


We are Family

We are Family is a guide to nurturing the child-pet relationship; from pregnancy to preschool. 


Benefits of companion animal ownership

Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world. More than eight out of ten Australians have owned a pet at some stage of their lives and almost two-thirds of Australian households currently own pets.

Research has shown that pets provide owners with both psychological and physiological benefits and the majority of these owners are healthier than those without pets.
- The Power of Pets, Australian Companion Animal Council, 2009.

The Australian Companion Animal Council incorporated is a non-profit organisation. It is the leader and voice for the pet care industry on the benefits of socially responsible pet ownership in Australia. Visit their website for more information on the benefits of companion animal ownership. 

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Page last updated: 23 Sep 2019