Dog Ownership Responsibilities

As a dog owner:
  • You should socialise and train your dog.
  • Exercise your dog -  All dogs must always be walked on a lead with a collar and I.D. tag whilst in a public place (excluding dog friendly off-leash parks). Dogs must be under effective control in these areas. I.D. tags must include the dog’s name, residential address or the owner’s phone number. Dog parks in the Hawkesbury can be found here.
  • Pick up after your dog - Carry doggy poo bags at all times. It’s important for the environment to bag it and bin it appropriately.
  • Provide an safe environment for your dog.
  • You must microchip your dog, more information found here.
  • You must register your dog, more information found here.
  • Monitor, vaccinate and parasitic control your dog.
  • Groom your dog.
  • Be aware of your dog at all time.

You or the person in charge of the dog at the time, must take all reasonable precautions to prevent your dog from escaping from the property on which it is being kept.

Hawkesbury City Council is dedicated to promoting responsible pet ownership to safeguard our community. While Council engages in educational and awareness initiatives, pet owners play a pivotal role in ensuring the welfare of both their animals and the community.

Areas prohibited for dogs?

All dogs, apart from police and corrective service dogs and genuine assistance dogs, are banned from:

  • within 10 metres of a children’s play area
  • within 10 metres of food preparation or consumption areas, except cafes or restaurants whose owners permit dogs (not restricted dogs or declared dangerous dogs) in their outdoor dining areas
  • recreation areas where dogs are prohibited
  • public bathing areas where dogs are prohibited
  • school grounds
  • child care centres
  • shopping centres where dogs are prohibited
  • wildlife protection areas.

This information is sourced from the Office of Local Government's website

Dogs in Public Spaces

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.

If you fail to comply with this requirement, you, or if you are not present, the person in control of your dog, if s/he is aged 16 or over, may be liable for a maximum penalty of $1,100 or $11,000 in the case of a restricted dog, dangerous or menacing dog.

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) or
  • a dog engaged in droving, tending or working of stock or
  • a dog being exhibited for show purposes or
  • a dog participating in an obedience class, trial or exhibition or
  • a police dog or
  • a corrective services dog or
  • a dog secured in a cage or vehicle or tethered to a fixed object or structure.
Dogs in outdoor dining areas

A dog, except a restricted or declared dangerous or menacing dog, is allowed in the outdoor dining area of a cafe or restaurant with the cafe or restaurant owner’s consent. Certain restrictions apply:

  • The outdoor dining area must not be enclosed and must be accessible without the requirement to pass through an enclosed area
  • The dog must be on a leash at all times
  • The dog may be provided with drink, but not food
  • The dog must be on the ground at all times

These restrictions do not apply in leash-free areas where:

  • The dog does not have to be on a leash
  • The dog may be given food, as well as drink, while it is on the ground (but not using any apparatus provided for the consumption of food by humans)
  • The dog may sit on a person’s lap (but may not sit on any table or chairs or make contact with other apparatus provided for the consumption of food by humans).
Cleaning up after your dog

If your dog defecates in a public place or on someone else’s property, you must remove the faeces immediately and dispose of them properly. Many councils provide bins for the removal of dog faeces in places where dogs are often exercised and you should look for bins in your area.

If you fail to pick up after your dog, you or the person in charge of the dog at the time may be liable for a maximum penalty of $880.

Adopting a Dog

Adopting a dog can be a rewarding and fun experience. It is important firstly to consider the ongoing needs of the new dog before adopting, to ensure you can commit to caring for them for the remainder of their life.

To help us select the right companion for our home and lifestyle, we should firstly take into consideration the dogs size. A dog’s size will give you indication of their ongoing needs. Generally speaking, your new dog will fit into one of the three below size categories:

  • Small Dog <15kg (e.g Maltese, Jack Russell Terrier, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Pug)
  • Medium Dog 15kg – 25kg (e.g Australian Kelpie, Border Collie, Cattle Dog, English Staffy)
  • Large Dog 25kg > (e.g American Staffy, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, Mastiff)


  • Ensure your dog has access to cool, clean water at all times.
  • Provide your dog with a well-balanced, high quality diet.
  • Ensure your dog has adequate shelter suitable for all weather conditions.
  • Take your dog to the vet for regular health checks.
  • Desexing your dog prevents unwanted litter and health issues

Dog Attacks

Dog attacks should be reported to Council’s Customer Service Centre as soon as possible, on phone (02) 4560 4444.

When reporting a dog attack to Council try to provide as much of the following information as possible:

  • Where the attack occurred;
  • A description of the attack;
  • A description of injuries and whether medical attention was required;
  • A description of the dog(s) involved;
  • If possible, details of the dogs’ owners; and
  • Your contact details.

Council’s Animal Rangers will investigate the matter as soon as they can.