Purpose of Dogs on Beaches Community Engagement

Managing dog on-leash and off-leash use of our beaches can be a very challenging, complex, and sensitive topic for the community. Many dog owners feel strong attachment to their ability to use the beach for dog off-leash exercise, however some members of the community feel fearful, vulnerable or uncomfortable around dogs in public places. Through this community engagement process, Council hopes to find a solution that offers flexibility for all beach and foreshore reserve users to find public spaces that suit their various needs throughout the year.

In early 2022 we engaged with our community about dog leash rules across reserves, beaches, and foreshore areas to inform Council decision making.

Elements of Council’s decision relating to dog leash rules along beaches were rescinded due to community concerns about a proportion of registered dog owners not being notified of the opportunity to contribute. This occurred due to a technical error.

While reported dog incidents and attacks do provide data to consider when reviewing our current rules for dogs on beaches and foreshore reserves, not all dog incidents or attacks are reported and there are many other factors that PAE staff and the Dogs on Beaches Community Working Group also need to consider.

Ensuring our beaches and foreshore reserves are spaces that everyone from our community can enjoy is not only about reducing/preventing attacks and injuries, but also about making people feel comfortable, safe and that these spaces are enjoyable places to be.

During the Pups in Public Places Consultation in 2022, we received feedback from our community about how people feel scared or intimidated by dogs when using the beach, and some don’t even use the beach at all because of these reasons. This is not captured within dog attack reports, however is still critical feedback that a percentage of the community do not feel safe using the beach or are not able to enjoy these spaces under the current rules.

Dogs on Beaches Community Working Group

The Dogs on Beaches Community Working Group is a group of 30 local people who have been working together with an independent facilitator to:

  • Share and consider a variety of perspectives
  • Develop options for rules regarding dogs on beaches and foreshore reserves ready to take to broader community consultation

With the feedback from the broader community consultation process the group will:

  • Analyse feedback received from the broader community consultation process; and
  • Reach a consensus on the preferred option/s for rules for dogs on beaches and foreshore reserves to be submitted to Council.

The working group is made up of 30 people from the community with the groups and views represented can be found here.

Current rules for dogs on beaches and grassed foreshore

There are currently different rules for PAE grassed foreshore areas and formal pathways as stated below:

  • Footpaths and shared paths in the foreshore reserve are on-leash at all times as designated under the Dog and Cat Management Act.
  • Our grassed foreshore reserves are currently off-leash at all times.

Rules for dogs on PAE beaches:

  • During daylight savings (October to March), dogs must be on-leash between 10am to 8pm.
  • Outside of daylight savings (April to September), dogs are allowed off-leash under effective control at all times.

There are varying rules for different areas of our beaches in metropolitan Adelaide. See the rules below for each of the council areas.

  • City of Charles Sturt - same daylight savings rules as PAE for their beaches from Semaphore Park to West Beach. The Cities of Charles Sturt and PAE have a joint beach patrol program.
  • City of West Torrens - dogs can be walked off-leash under effective control, all year round at West Beach.
  • City of Holdfast Bay - same daylight savings rules as PAE for their beaches from Glenelg North to Kingston Park.
  • City of Marion - dogs can be walked off-leash under effective control, all year round at Hallett Cove Beach.
  • City of Onkaparinga - dogs can be exercised off-leash, under effective control, all year round at these dedicated dog exercise beaches:
    • O’Sullivan Beach
    • Port Noarlunga South
    • Seaford
    • Maslin
    • Aldinga
    • Sellicks Beach
    • Christies Beach

During daylight savings, between 10am and 8pm:

    • dogs must be kept on-leash at all other beaches.
    • dogs are prohibited on Port Noarlunga beach, from the Port Noarlunga Surf Life Saving Club to the cliffs at the northern end.

About the proposals

No, the proposals from the Community Working Group do not include any areas where dogs are excluded.

The Dogs on Beaches Community Working Group is made up of 30 community representatives who regularly use the beach and foreshore reserve areas. The participants include dog owners, some with reactive dogs and people who visit the beach without a dog.

The group has been working with an independent facilitator over 3 workshops to consider and develop a variety of options for the leashing laws for the beach and grassed foreshore.

The group will be reviewing the feedback and will further develop preferred option/s for rules for dogs on beaches and foreshore reserves to be submitted to Council.

The distance for each jetty area would be between 150m and 500m total. We are looking for feedback to assist in determining the exact distances of these on-leash areas, if this option was to go ahead. The on-leash areas would provide space for families to picnic around jetty areas and people with a fear of dogs or a reactive dog, to use the space without risk of dogs approaching them. The on-leash areas would need to align with beach entrances.

The distance of the proposed off-leash area show in Semaphore South to Breakwater beaches Option 3, is approx. 1.8kms from Strathfield Terrace, Largs North to Osborne breakwater.

The off-leash area would provide a space for people to exercise their dogs off-leash any time of day, all year round.

Opportunities to provide your feedback

There are a range of different ways you can share your feedback on the range of proposed options for rules for dogs on beaches and grassed foreshore reserves.

  • Attend an engagement pop-up session

The dates and times for the pop-up engagements will be provided on the Participate PAE project page. The community are encouraged to check on the page for the latest dates and times.

We are running a range of pop-up engagements across our community. Come along anytime between the below listed timeframes to speak to a member of our project team.

  • Semaphore Beach - 9am to 11am, Saturday 23 September
  • North Haven Beach - 4.30pm to 6pm, Thursday 28 September
  • Semaphore Beach - 7.30am to 9am, Tuesday 3 October
  • Port Adelaide Plaza - 5pm to 7pm, Thursday 5 October
  • Touch a Truck event - 10am to 12noon, Saturday 7 October
  • Largs Bay Beach - 7.30am to 9am, Wednesday 11 October
  • Largs Bay Beach - 9am to 11am, Sunday 15 October
  • Greenacres Library - 10am to 11am, Wednesday 18 October
  • North Haven Beach - 9am to 11am, Saturday 21 October

We will be engagement with our community through a variety of avenues, including:

  • Email to all registered dog owners
  • Letters to residents living on the LeFevre Peninsula
  • Posters/Flyers at community locations e.g Civic Centre, Libraries, Community Centres
  • PAE Social media pages
  • PAE website
  • Signage at all beach access paths along the LeFevre Peninsula
  • Roadside signage at key locations across PAE
  • Pop-up engagements at various beach and foreshore locations
  • Participate PAE email to all project followers and previous engagement contributors.

Next steps following community engagement

All feedback submitted to the City of PAE through Participate PAE, hard copy surveys and pop-up engagements, will be provided to the Dogs on Beaches Community Working Group who will again work with an independent facilitator and key PAE staff to:

  • Review and analyse the feedback received - the group will be presented with all raw data received (names, street addresses and emails will be removed prior to data being shared with the working group).
  • Refine the option/s as necessary. Depending on what the group hears via the community feedback, they will refine the options as necessary. This is likely to include further deliberations as a group to find the preferred option to present to Council.
  • Reach a consensus on the preferred option/s for the rules for dog on-leash and off-leash areas along our beaches and foreshore reserves.

It is proposed that the new leash rules for dogs on beaches and grasses foreshore, will come into effect at the start of the 2024 Summer season (October 2024)

At the first workshop of the Dog on Beaches Community Working Group, the group identified several topics that are critical to the success of any leashing laws that apply on the beach including:

  • Education (such as simple signage about the rules, what recall is)
  • Beach culture/etiquette (such as issues around friendly dogs off leash approaching people who don’t want to be approached or people with reactive dogs on leads)
  • Report (such as how to make a report to Council); and
  • Enforcement

As there are number of aspects that need to be explored further, there will be a workshop with the working group at the conclusion of the project, where these issues will be explored and the group will make suggestions on how to tackle each element.