Monash dog owners will have more space to run their pets off-leash, with 14 new sites across the municipality to become leash-free from 1 July.
The Monash Dog Off-Leash Policy, which was endorsed in November 2022, will see the total number of off-leash areas increase from 31 to 45. Four existing sites will also have expanded leash-free space.
The policy was formed after extensive consultation with our community over several months, including hundreds of pieces of feedback received via our Shape Monash online consultation hub, formal submissions, and petitions.
Like other councils, Monash is experiencing population growth and pressure on our public open spaces. With a continued increase in the number of registered dogs in Monash, planning and managing off-leash areas for people to walk and exercise their dogs is important.
Mayor Cr Tina Samardzija said it was fantastic to deliver more spaces for dogs to run off-leash.
“We know from community feedback that there is strong support for increasing the number of off-leash areas in the City of Monash, and it is great that Council has been able to provide 14 new sites for dogs and their owners to explore,” Cr Samardzija said.
Council has made no changes to off-leash areas at Jack Edwards Reserve. Four areas will have off-leash areas reduced, including at Damper Creek Conservation Reserve.
Melbourne-based company Practical Ecology was commissioned by Council to assess the impacts that domestic animals and invasive pest animals have on the native flora and fauna throughout Monash’s bushland reserves with particular focus on Damper Creek Conservation Reserve. The report recommended the reserve be designated as on-leash for dogs to protect this significant conservation corridor.
Council was careful and thorough in considering all views, feedback and advice before adjusting what we proposed for this conservation reserve by retaining two pockets for off-leash activity. There is also an existing dog off-leash area nearby at Federal Reserve (approximately 300m from Damper Creek) and a new off-leash area to be provided at Bowman Street Reserve, also nearby (approximately 400m).
“While we know this decision won’t please everyone, we believe it provides the correct balance between the protection of Council’s limited and valuable conservation reserves and the needs of dog owners,” Cr Samardzija said.
Council intends to take an educative approach during the initial stages of implementation and following that a person may be issued with a fine.
Dog owners must comply with Council’s Dog Control Order that requires them, when in an off-leash area, to carry a short leash, be able to bring their dog under control promptly, remain in constant sight of their dog, and to pick up after them.
All dogs in Monash aged over three months must be registered, and registrations must be renewed annually by 10 April.
Microchipping is also mandatory, and satisfactory proof is required. Residents should make sure pets are microchipped by a National Pet Register agent.