Off Leash Dog Exercise Area Strategy

Consultation closing on 27 September 2020, 5:00PM

Image of dog running on grass

We’re developing an Off Leash Dog Exercise Area Strategy to ensure dogs can play, exercise and socialise with their owners in a safe and accessible way.

The Strategy will provide a structured and strategic approach to planning and managing Council’s off leash areas by: 

  • Reviewing existing off leash dog exercise areas and supporting infrastructure
  • Identifying gaps in the provision of off leash dog exercise areas 
  • Planning for off leash dog exercise areas in line with expected population growth
  • Balancing the needs of dog owners with the needs of the community.

Have your say

Help us understand how we can improve the way we manage off leash dog exercise areas by taking the survey. The information you provide will be used to develop a draft Strategy, which will be placed on public exhibition before being finalised and adopted.

Under the Companion Animals Act 1998 all Local Councils have a responsibility to manage dog exercise in their areas. The Act provides the following direct and indirect legislative obligations on Cessnock City Council:

  • There must be at least one public place in the area of the local authority that is an off leash area;
  • It is the duty of a local authority for a place that is commonly used for exercising dogs (including an off leash area) to provide sufficient rubbish receptacles for the proper disposal of the faeces of dogs that defecate in the place;
  • Dogs are prohibited within 10m of playground equipment;
  • Dog are prohibited within 10m of food preparation and eating areas such as BBQ’s and picnic tables.


Council currently has 6 off leash areas at the following locations:

  • Greta Central Park Leash Free Area, Greta
  • Hall Park Leash Free Area, Cessnock
  • Manning Park Leash Free Area, Cessnock
  • Miller Park Leash Free Area, Branxton
  • Stanford Merthyr Park Leash Free Area, Stanford Merthyr
  • Varty Park Leash Free Area, Weston