Dog Exclusion Areas in Sports Fields

Consultation has concluded.

Dogs on Sports FieldsThis consultation has concluded. To view the report that went to the Council meeting of 5 June 2013, and the Minutes with the subsequent Council resolution, please go to the downloads in the Library . If you would like to be informed of further developments on this issue, including further consultation that may take place, please Email or phone Council's Recreation Development Officer.

Dog use on sportsgrounds is an issue which has been raised by sporting groups in the Blue Mountains at different times. The option of considering dog exclusion areas in sportsgrounds is an action of Councils Companion Animals Management Plan, as adopted in 2010. .

  • The Survey has concluded on 28 April 2013. An Summary of the survey can be vewed in the Library . Please note that this summary is on overview only. Further analyses on parameters in the data is required to obtain trends.
  • Guestbook comments have also concluded. The comments made however can be viewed in the Guestbook below.
  • A summary of all issues raised through this initial stage of the consultation can be viewed in the Library . This includes issues raised through the surveys, guestbook and letters.
  • Please read the FAQs and Background Information and associated documents in the Library
  • Email or phone Council's Recreation Development Officer.

Other phases to this consultation include a Steering Committee Workshop from community representatives, and a Public Exhibition of the outcomes. Please read below for more details.

Dogs on Sports FieldsThis consultation has concluded. To view the report that went to the Council meeting of 5 June 2013, and the Minutes with the subsequent Council resolution, please go to the downloads in the Library . If you would like to be informed of further developments on this issue, including further consultation that may take place, please Email or phone Council's Recreation Development Officer.

Dog use on sportsgrounds is an issue which has been raised by sporting groups in the Blue Mountains at different times. The option of considering dog exclusion areas in sportsgrounds is an action of Councils Companion Animals Management Plan, as adopted in 2010. .

  • The Survey has concluded on 28 April 2013. An Summary of the survey can be vewed in the Library . Please note that this summary is on overview only. Further analyses on parameters in the data is required to obtain trends.
  • Guestbook comments have also concluded. The comments made however can be viewed in the Guestbook below.
  • A summary of all issues raised through this initial stage of the consultation can be viewed in the Library . This includes issues raised through the surveys, guestbook and letters.
  • Please read the FAQs and Background Information and associated documents in the Library
  • Email or phone Council's Recreation Development Officer.

Other phases to this consultation include a Steering Committee Workshop from community representatives, and a Public Exhibition of the outcomes. Please read below for more details.

Below  is a Guestbook for comments.  You are encouraged to make comments on the subject of dog use on sportsgrounds.  Some subjects which you could comment about include

  • Sportgrounds being large available spaces for many potential uses.
  • Doing sport or recreation in an area that is also shared for dog recraetion.
  • Etiquette of responsible dog ownership in public places.
  • Effects of poor dog behaviour and poor owner management in public places.
  • Ways of achieving co-operative uses in sportsgrounds.

Guestbook comments can be viewed by other people, giving them a chance to understand the range of opinions on this subject. 

In addition to your Guestbook comments, you are encouraged to complete the on-line survey. The Survey is an important way for Council to capture a consistent response to key questions on this topic.

All feedback from this consultation will be considered and contribute to a report to the Councillors.

I wonder if other councils with successful dog policies such as Sydney, Marrickville or Leichhardt could provide best practice models in the case of this policy. They all successfully manage higher traffic of dogs & owners in public spaces. I have observed that, in contrast, BM has increasingly limited places for people and their dogs to exercise together. In particular, Katoomba has seen the exclusion of dogs from two other popular dog walking areas prior to the suggestion of excluding dogs from sports fields. As other councils have demonstrated, dog parks do perform an important social function, they not only provide opportunities for dogs to socialise properly, and therefore avoid becoming fearful or anxious (or aggressive) around other dogs, they also provide an opportunity for people to connect in the community. Restricting areas for people to exercise with their dogs without providing alternative spaces may also mean that dogs are left behind when their owners go for their walk or run, leaving dogs who are bored and more likely to bark or be destructive. Naturally if you end up with both dog and owner settling for the couch instead of fighting to find a place to exercise happily, this is not a good outcome for public health.

sharni almost 7 years ago

Blue Mountains Dog Off LeashGroup (BMDOG) convenor Leigh Collins says "sports grounds are left deserted 99 per cent of the time". 99 per cent Leigh? An exageration of some proportion I don't know where Leigh hides on weekends when Netball, Little Athletics, Soccer, Rugby League, Rugby Union and AFL are being played or after school of a weekday when training occurs for the various sports or during school hours when various schools conduct activities at these sport facilities.yes there are many responsible dog owners who clean up there dog's mess but unfortunately there are more than just a few who either stand and watch or look the other way while their dogs leave their calling card.I have given up taking my grand children to the local oval to kick a ball or other activities due to the number of times they trod in dog turds and on one occasion took the mess on a shoe onto the carpet in my car. It was instructive to see dog owners let their doggs off leash to run anywhere while they chatted in a group and after 20 or so minutes whistled for their dogs to return, hop into their cars and drive off. No indication that cleaning up the mess some of their dogs left was even on their agenda.

Frank almost 7 years ago

I dont think dogs should be on the actual sports playing field.My dog and I manage.

Bly almost 7 years ago

I would like to thank the person responsible for the installation of a drinking bubbler for people and a water bowl and tap for dogs at Lomatia Park. This means I do not have to carry water for my dog. I have seen more dogs using the facility than people. Great idea, BMCC. Thank you. However, your idea of restricting dog use of ovals is not one of your brightest ideas. Sorry.

Mmm almost 7 years ago

I complain to Council when cars park on reserve land instead of the parking lot, maybe I should start complaining when the sportsmen and fans leave the area full of broken beer bottles, stubby tops, empty alcohol tins and millions of cigarette butts in clearly noted NON-smoking areas. Doggy-do?? I pick up my dog's poo and if there is more from other dogs, that too. I am not alone, most people do that. Where else am I going to throw the ball for my dog?? Walking the dog is therapeutic and a form of socialising. You can't give (open spaces that allow walking of pets) with one hand and take away with the other.

Mmm almost 7 years ago

I am a complete animal lover and find a great deal of animal owners to be the most caring and genuinely lovely people about. You do get those owners who neglect their animals and they are the type of people who are probably guilty of leaving dog mess in the park for other people to tread on. I do understand how unpleasant it is for some people but do not punish all the responsible dog owners out there who are just looking to give their pets a nice walk. They are 'man's best friend' for many people and are the most loyal of creatures.

Steven63 almost 7 years ago

Most dog owners are responsible individuals, dare I say, one can't say the same about a lot of parents raising totally unruly and ill mannered children who behave like brutes.Furthermore, why this endless moaning dogs having a poo .... For Gods sake, are you going to stop disabled and elderly people with continence problems from leaving their homes.I have always strongly felt fine people a substantial amount if caught walking away from doggy poo, instead of penalizing all dog owners randomly. Also bear in mind, that most often people who don't pick up after their dogs, are more often than not, irresponsible pet owners. KRIS (Hazelbrook)

Kris almost 7 years ago

Just another thought.Council to provide areas for dog owners and contact sports people to use on a pro-rata basis, i.e. areas to be provided equivalent to the relative proportions of dog owners and contact sports players. That would be fair and reasonable. We could then also look at similar conditions, eg. only allowing sports to be played before 10AM or after 4PM.40% of Mountains homes have a dog. How many footie players are there?

Mountain Boy almost 7 years ago

I think it is important for dogs be allowed into sports areas. A few unhelpful mowners shouldn`t ruin it for the rest of us.

Shirley almost 7 years ago

*Please fix your 'more' button. Reading the longer posts is very difficult as is.

Harri almost 7 years ago

SPORTSFIELDS are also PARKS and as such should be made available to all residents who pay very substantial rates. We seem to get so very little service here in the mountains so the suggestion that some off-leash PARKS may be lost to dog owning residents is very disappointing.

YAYA almost 7 years ago

My daughter's dog has a medical condition. After he squatted without going to the toilet she was accosted and verbally abused by a man for not picking up after her dog, even though her dog hadn't gone to the toilet. People who make assumptions and feel entitled to be aggressive towards complete strangers based on their incorrect assumptions are what I'm worried about, not the odd dog dropping. My motion activated outdoor camera has also recorded that droppings found in my yard were made by a fox. I live opposite a major sporting field.I'd like to see a ban on assumptions, not dogs.

Harri almost 7 years ago

The irresponsible dog owners who leave their dog droppings on an oval are the very same ones who are going to ignore any bans you may impose on oval access to dogs. Policing all ovals will require more rangers, that I, as a ratepayer don't wish to pay for. Responsible dog owners are likely to pick up other dog's droppings as well as their own as they have their baggies at the ready.They are the same people who cart out fast food trash, empty drink containers and cigarette packets. Yes, I've seen them and joined their ranks. Maybe a well designed sign on each oval encouraging dog owners to pick up any dog droppings they see as well as their own could be more productive.

Tinny almost 7 years ago

There is a simpler, less draconian solution to this problem - one which does not prohibit responsible citizens from continuing to walk their dogs in Public Parks. This proposal is outlined below under “Counter-Proposal”.Public Parks must continue to have multiple uses and serve all members of the community. Council should try to accommodate all lawful uses of Public Parks and not be pressured into imposing unnecessary restrictions on the long-standing rights of citizens - in this case dog owners.Instead, Council should enforce the existing by-law which prohibits dog-owners from failing to remove their dogs’ faeces from public areas. As a step towards this, Council could install signs written in clear English and provide a roll of plastic dog-poo bags in every park. If Council made effective education and enforcement efforts in this direction, sporting groups would not experience the issue they complain about. Secondly, if Council is unable or unwilling to effectively enforce the existing by-law, how would it effectively enforce the proposed new one?The vast majority of dog owners observe the existing by-law. It would be unreasonable for Council to permanently excluded dogs from certain Public Parks simply because a tiny minority of dog owners publicly flouts an unenforced by-law.I urge Council to reject the proposal.Counter-Proposal:Dog faeces are just one of a number of objects which could be irresponsibly or unlawfully left in Public Parks. If contacted during a game, such objects may pose unwelcome consequences or be downright dangerous to players. These objects may include not just dog faeces, but also pieces of broken glass; used syringes and condoms; drink bottles; sharp sticks etc. The organisers of sporting games on Public Parks should identify and minimize all such risks as part of their duty of care towards participants many of whom may be young children. In other words, a broader view is required on how to deal with all such foreseeable risks to player welfare, rather than focusing exclusively on just one of them.One simple and effective way of doing this is for the members of both teams; referees and parents to perform a quick “sweep” of the playing surface prior to the commencement of a game. This would take 20 people no more than a couple of minutes. They would pick up any dangerous objects; dog faeces and litter, and remove them from the playing surface.This simple procedure would achieve the sporting groups’ stated objective, without interfering with other citizens’ long-standing rights to enjoy Public Parks. The “sweeping” of the field prior to use would not only protect and benefit players. It also would provide a good example and a learning experience for young people in civic conduct as well as fostering their respect for public facilities.

PeterEvans almost 7 years ago

Why can’t the council allocate the bottom field of Tom Hunters park for dog walkers. I have never seen any sports taking place on that part of the oval in the 14 years I have lived in the street and we walk our dogs there every day.

Dawn almost 7 years ago

I would like to say that the banning of dogs on sporting ovals is ridiculous. Living opposite the Warrimoo sports grounds I'd say owners who walk their dogs in a responsible fashion are not a problem how ever the state in which the sports grounds are left after a Saturday of football is far worse. I walk my dogs on the oval as do many other residents in this area and not once have I ever left or come across dog waste on the oval but every Saturday after the football has finished there is rubbish not only all over the oval and perimeter but also down the street and in residents yards! These sports clubs do not own this ground and there are long periods of time where the grounds are not being used at all so where is the harm? I pay my rates and I want to know why should I not be entitled to use this public ground to walk my dogs? Lets face it my dogs leave it a lot cleaner than the people who play here do even when the bins are taken out of their cage for sports use only! It seems to me like those if us who do the right thing get punished and the real issues are not being dealt with

emma almost 7 years ago

The ovals belong to all rate payers, not to sport groups alone. It follows that a range of activities should be allowed including dog walking. A blanket ban is excessive and appears to be a power grab by organised sport groups with the aim of holding community space for their own exclusive use. This is unacceptable. It should be remembered that most of the time the ovals are unused by these groups. In the case of Lapstone oval outside weekends it is often empty of people altogether. I walk our dog there regularly and I pick up after her. This is more than can be said for the rugby players and their followers after a Saturday game when the oval is left with rubbish all over the place. Again - the ovals belong to all of us.

Angie almost 7 years ago

Dear BMCC,I have forwarded a few months ago to our council the websites of both Sydney City and Melbourne Port Philip and other Melbourne city sites where dogs and their owners are acknowledged warmly and encouraged to enjoy the parks...they openly recognise the need for dogs to have a run and be off the lead...so progressive and intelligent in attitude and understanding of the nature of a dog and owner and the need for dogs to play and romp together rather than straining at the lead to greet another dog or to bark and growl as dogs on leads do when they wouldn't otherwise if free to socialise.As well as all of the above,the older folk including myself are losing that precious social contact with each other ...to get out in the fresh air and take exercise and socialise with other dog owners...i don't play golf or go to the RSL...I like to meet in the park with fellow dog lovers as a social outing and not to be confined to say "after 4pm" or before "8am".Catalina Park has become quite deserted and feels unsafe when I go alone during the daytime...we create a presence and look after our parks...often picking up broken bottles, drug paraphenalia, cigarette buts,plastic food and bottle containers left when rangers are not on duty.We also keep a watch on the ducks and see to it that trolleys are removed from the pond...I have witnessed an unsavoury element creeping in when the parks get abandoned by dog owners...we are the safeguard of our parks.Moreover we are encouraged to take exercise for our health and well being...how can we if the parks feel unsafe due to desertion.Last week my puggle saved me from a large eucalypt tree which fell five minutes after she sensed the roots moving and wanted to run home...as soon as we got indoors a large crash and power lines down in street....tree fell at the very spot where we were walking.I rest my case for the loyal and humble relationship between man/woman and dog and conclude by saying let our council rates be spent by catching the real criminals in this town...the defacers and drug criminals to name a couple....or maybe pay us to keep a high profile with our beautiful dogs to grace and compliment this magnificent Blue Mountains.

totomoto almost 7 years ago

I and people who i have talked to including my partners soccer team, think its disgusting that blue mountains council is even considering excluding dogs from sports ground... in the whole 8 years have we ever come across dog faeces anywhere within the sports ground! I also take my dogs with me while i watch my partner play and look forward to every week! Dont punish the people who clean up after their dogs!!!

ljfreeman87 almost 7 years ago

The origin of this proposal is the secret lobbying by a well-organised group of football players. The proposal, disingenuously entitled community consultation to find 'a way forward', is unreasonable, biased, & disproportinate for a number of reasons. First, the sentiments in the Council's information & invitation to particpate in the 'consultation' indicate that the outcome has been predetermined. The football people are organised & have friends on Council; & dog-owners are not well organised. The apprehension of bias in the whole process from 'consultation', to report writing & recommemdation, to Council decision, will discourage many dog-owners from participating in the game. The Council fails to meet the two principles of procedural fairness: the requirement of a disinterested decision-maker, & an appropriate opportunity for those who are about to have their legitimate interests curtailed the right of reply & the concommitant right to have their interests seriously considered. On the substance of the issue, dogs have co-existed with players on sports fields since colonisation: dog-owners have a legitimate expectation that this old custom not be extinguished. Most of the time, I repeat, most of the time, the fields are not in use by organised sports - Council's plan is therefore disproportionate to the problem. Rate-payers who own dogs should not be excluded from using their local fields (particularly fields like the Lapsone Oval which is used by sports men & women who live outside the Council area). There are illegal activites conducted on sports fields that the Council ignores while at the same time sending rangers out to fine dog owners - golf practice, the flying of model areoplanes, & the lighting of fires around sports fields in winter. Council in other words does not administer the laws evenly; it has a bias against dog-owners. Winter sports in particular are charterised by the poor behaviour of sports players & spectators, a fact overlooked in this 'review': the fields are left trashed with garbage, & the surrounding streets suffer illegal parking on Saturdays. The rubbish left at Lapstone is mostly picked up but some is left in the surrounding bush. I also have to report that football spectators & perhaps player at training defacate in the bush around Lapstone Oval producing a danger for dog walkers. Finally, there is the question of the statutory power Council might rely on to prohibit residents from walking their dogs on an otherwise unoccupied sports field. I cannot see how the Companion Animals Act NSW empowers Councils to make such unreasonable decisions.KT Lapstone

Lupa almost 7 years ago