Dogs are prohibited from playground equipment and barbecue areas in the ACT from today, as well as being required to be on a leash on all paths, cycleways and in all major parks.
The ACT Government has introduced the law around playground and barbecue areas for public health and safety reasons, and considered walker and cyclist safety in introducing the path/cycleways change.
Dogs can be off-leash at sporting grounds unless formal sport is being played or a major event is taking place.
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Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury said the changes had been made in response to community feedback and aimed to make it easier for owners to know where they can and can’t take their dog, both on and off the leash.
“Specific changes come into effect at Lennox Gardens, Weston Park in Yarralumla and Black Mountain Peninsula, which will change from dog prohibited to dog on-leash areas, making them consistent with other major parks in Canberra,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“William Slim Drive pedestrian parkland has been changed from an on-leash to an off-leash area.”
A three month trial begins today to allow dogs to be off-leash at Blaxland Park (behind the shops in Griffith) from 6pm to 7am each day.
“This will be the first time a timeshare arrangement has been undertaken in the ACT and will be in place from Monday 11 January to Thursday 31 March 2016,” Mr Rattenbury said.
Mr Rattenbury said while dog owners need to be mindful of their responsibilities, everyone using shared paths and open spaces should be mindful of others, whether that meant keeping left on the footpath or slowing down on a bike when you see a dog ahead.
“Dogs need to be kept under control so they do not interfere with other people’s enjoyment of public spaces. As a general rule, if people are ever in doubt they should keep their dog on a leash. Signage will be erected at locations across Canberra, such as ovals, to help educate the community about how the areas can be used.
“People can provide comments on the changes to dog exercise area maps via www.timetotalk.act.gov.au by Thursday 31 March 2016. The website also lists the sites where usage has changed.”
Mr Rattenbury said the ACT Government will continue assessing other recreation areas identified during a 2014 consultation to determine if further changes would be made.