Dogs and the environment

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Inner West Pets


Poo happens: bag it, bin it!


If just one dog poo from every dog in the Inner West Council area was left in our streets and parks each day, several tonnes of dog faeces would end up in our waterways every year.

Faeces can contaminate waterways by washing off grass and pavements and moving, untreated, into the Cooks River, Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay. Faeces in creeks and rivers leads to an increased level of nutrients which provides a more favourable environment for algal blooms to grow. Bacteria from dog faeces in our waterways can cause diarrhoea and other health problems for humans.


  • Dog poo in our streets and parks is smelly, unsightly and unpleasant to step in!
  • Dog faeces may also carry intestinal parasites that can be transferred to other animals and humans
  • Dog poo may contain harmful bacteria which can wash into our storm water systems and natural waterways


  • Remove your dog's faeces immediately
  • Bring your own dog tidy bags and properly dispose of your dog's poo in a rubbish receptacle
  • Ensure your dog is regularly wormed (every 3 months)

Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, the owner or person in charge of a dog that defecates in a public place must immediately remove the dog's faeces and properly dispose of them. This offence carries a maximum fine of $880.

Sustainable pet ownership tips

Instead of plastic bags bring your own sustainable materials to the park to pick up after your dog. Carboard scoops are probably best. Make your own or take a look at these examples online: Doggy Dunit Scoop / KakaSak Scooper / Poop Scoop Zero Plastic

Don't use flushable wipes or bags to clean up after your pet - many wipes aren't actually flushable and cause plumbing and environmental problems. 

At home use cat litter made of recycled paper or similar

Compost litter and waste at home but ONLY if you can maintain the compost heap at a high heat to kill bugs

Avoid plastic toys if possible - try making your own environmentally friendly DIY toys

Purchase a pet bed made from recycled materials or make your own 

A note on compostable dog waste bags

Council regularly receives enquiries about the dog waste bags provided in our parks. Compostable, corn starch bags are commonly suggested as an alternative, however:

  • Compostable bags can only be composted in an industrial composter and, at this time, Council does not have access to such a facility. Regular composting isn't usually hot enough to break down the bags.
    Therefore the compostable bags go into the bin and then to the tip, just as standard plastic bags do.

  • Compostable bags do eventually break down in a tip, but this process produces climate-altering methane gas due to low levels of oxygen (anaerobic conditions).

Until we find a good alternative we suggest that dog owners bring their own sustainable materials to the park to pick up their dog's waste. Cardboard scoops are probably best.


Native animals and their habitat


The original native plant and animal communities within the Inner West Council area have been extensively modified as a result of human development. Although the area around us is urban, it contains over 80 species of native animals (birds, reptiles, frogs, mammals and fish) including an endangered population of long-nosed bandicoots. Council is working to protect and enhance our native biodiversity as much as possible by restoring habitats, particularly in local parks and reserves.


  • Dogs running through vegetation and bush land areas can damage and destroy the habitat of native animals
  • Roaming dogs and unsupervised dogs may chase, injure and/or kill native animals


  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times, unless exercising in a dedicated dog 'off-leash' area
  • Keep an eye on your dog at all times and under effective control when exercising in a dedicated dog 'off leash' area
  • Ensure your dog is secured within your property and do not allow your dog to roam outside of your private property


Be a responsible dog owner - take care of our environment

Lodge a dog complaint

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Page last updated: 21 Apr 2021