Project Background

Many residents in the City of Melton own dogs and exercising dogs has recreational and social benefits.

We are creating a new strategy to identify how Council can cater for residents that want access to dog off-lead opportunities.

We asked for your thoughts, whether you own a dog or not, to understand your interests and concerns when it comes to dogs in open spaces.

We want to identify off-leash and on-leash opportunities for dog owners and their dogs. We also recognise the need to consider the needs of other people and activities that use our open spaces.


Thank you to everyone who submitted their feedback. The information you provided will help us establish a 10-year plan that will guide how and where we make provision for dog owners. It will also help establish expectations about the management and monitoring of these spaces.

Complete the survey

Survey closes 18 September.

Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times unless you are in a designated area where dogs may be exercised off-lead. These areas are identified by signs and have conditions which must be observed and obeyed when your dog is off lead.

    The Domestic Animals Act 1994 (the Act) requires that each municipal council prepare an animal management plan. Melton City Council supports that strategic approach and has therefore developed this plan in accordance with the legislative guidelines.

    The Plan will allow the Council to undertake a consistent approach to animal management issues throughout the municipality

    Ensures activities undertaken by the Animal Management Unit in relation to domestic animal management have a strategic focus.

    You can view the plan on our website

    Parks are provided for the whole community to enjoy. As a result, Council has to consider the needs and opinion of residents who use these spaces, including those who do not want to interact with dogs, people who are fearful or anxious about dogs and people who would prefer to picnic or use the space with children without dogs interfering.

    There are also dog owners who cannot or do not control their dogs in line with State Government and Council regulations.

    For a number of reasons.

    1. The primary reason is because Council wants to minimise the fencing of open space exclusively for one activity where it can. We have a shortage of open space and an increasing number of activities and people wanting to use it.
    2. There are risk management issues that Council has to consider in relation to fenced off-leash areas. For example, the data tells us that dogs are not as well behaved or controlled in fenced off-leash areas and the confined nature of these spaces increases the likelihood of anti-social behaviour.

    Overactive dogs should not be taken into a fenced off-leash area, particularly if they have poor manners. These dogs are likely to impose on the personal space of other dogs, bowl them over and not understand the difference between social and rough play.

    This can result in overly aggressive behaviour and dogs having a traumatic experience which can result in fearful behaviour in the future.

    This is a common adage among some dog owners and can result in physical and/or emotional trauma, the impact of the latter can play out in terms of negative changes in behaviour that often go unrecognised by an owner. Dog owners must recognise the difference between polite social play and overly boisterous or dominant play and intervene well before the play transitions to the latter.