Background Information

The issue of dog use on sportsgrounds has been raised from forums such as Sports Council(2) meetings and past community consultation such as dog off-leash trials.  When this issue sportsgrounds has been raised, it is considered to be a greater issue when playing “contact” sports, more so than other sporting uses.  Contact sports are those in which people must make physical contact as part of the game, and usually this will also result in direct contact with the ground during the game.  This includes games such as football, rugby and AFL.  Many physical sports however can require running large distances over ground and occasional sliding.

The Blue Mountains Local Government area has a total of 21 sportsgrounds from Lapstone to Mt Victoria.  Each of these sportsgrounds receives different sporting uses, ranging from multiple fields regularly booked by a number of sporting groups, to a single field used by one sport for a season.  These sportsgrounds also provide large spaces which are available for a variety of casual recreational uses when not booked by a sporting group.  This includes recreational dog use.  Recreational dog use includes walking a dog on a leash, and also dog off-leash use on some specified areas.  Some sportsgrounds may also support regular bookings from organisations such as dog training clubs.

It is estimated that 37.8%(3) of households have a dog, and Council estimates indicate approximately 20,400 dogs known to live within the Blue Mountains(4).  Some recognised benefits of pet ownership include health benefits to the owners, companionship, social opportunities and educating children.  Access to public open spaces for dogs is also important for health and social benefits to the owners, improved dog behaviour and supporting the popularity of dog ownership.(5)

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