Domestic Pets

Download the 2021 Barwon Coast Dog Controls Brochure

As populations increase across Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula there is an increase in the number of domestic dogs and cats frequenting our coastal reserves. Geelong is said to have one of the largest populations of dogs and cats in any Australian municipality, with 11,154 registered cats and 33,393 registered dogs.

The City of Greater Geelong is responsible for the development and implementation of the Domestic Animal Management Plan which aims to facilitate the co-existence of pets, pet owners and the general population whilst addressing the welfare and legislative issues relating to animal management within the City boundaries. The plan also aims to promote responsible pet ownership and enhance the experience of domestic animal ownership within the community.

Barwon Coast works with the City of Greater Geelong to engage the community on responsible pet ownership to ensure domestic animals are controlled accordingly for protection of our wildlife and comfort of beach users.

Animal Welfare

If you have a concern about the welfare of any animal, pet or livestock, contact the RSPCA for advice and assistance.

T: 03 5223 1435


Dog Control Orders

Barwon Coast works with the City of Greater Geelong on our Dog Control Zones to ensure enjoyment by all at the beach and for wildlife protection. There are Dog Control Orders in place for the Barwon Coast. These orders control where you can and cannot take your dog for a walk and whether it can be on a lead or off. This ensures that all users can enjoy the beaches on the Barwon Coast.

Please see the Barwon Coast 2021 Dog Controls Brochure on this page or the City of Greater Geelong's website for a map and detailed information on the dog control orders for the Barwon Coast. 

In order to develop the orders a three step process was undertaken involving extensive community consultation.

Step 1: As a first step in engaging the community on the need for all users to have equitable access to the Barwon Coast, we launched the Share Our Shores Program in partnership with a number of other organisations.

Step 2: To assist in determining what the community required for equitable beach access, we contracted Federation University in 2018 to conduct an independent study into a number of coastal management issues, including dogs on beaches. Over 1700 community members contributed to this report through an online survey and workshops. The findings from this report, plus management learnings over the past ten years informed roposed dog control orders which were utlisied in Step 3. Click here for more information on this report.

Step 3: In 2018 and 2019 we worked with the City of Greater Geelong to undertake community consultation on proposed dog control orders. The feedback from this consultation was utlised to finalise dog control orders for the Barwon Coast.

When on the beach please remember that not all beach users share the same passion for dogs as the owner. Beach users have the right to enjoy the beach without fear or harassment from uncontrolled roaming dogs in dog off-leash zones.

Our coastal reserves should be enjoyed by all so we ask dog owners to be mindful that not all people on the beach enjoy dogs near them. Respecting others will also ensure your dog’s safety and minimise potential mishaps.

Our coastal zone is home to a variety of native animals. It is not uncommon to have a seal resting on our shores, or beach-nesting birds trying to quietly get on with their day. Disturbing these animals compromises their health further, preventing them to rest, feed and successfully raise their young. Dogs can also transfer disease to some wildlife and may react aggressively towards animals they have never seen before; therefore especially during summer we may ask people to keep their dog on a lead at all time, or refrain from walking a certain section of coast to ensure the wildlife on the beach are given the best chance to survive. Please ensure you always carry a poop bag and dog lead with you at all times. Remember the beaches are for the enjoyment and use by all, including our precious wildlife.

The City of Greater Geelong has also launched a free app that details the 100-plus dog-friendly parks, walking tracks and coastal reserves across Geelog; excluding the Barwon coastline.  The app called 'Park Your Pet' provides information on the range of open spaces and the dog control orders that apply to each place.

The app is an easily accessible format using coloured icons for on-leash and off-leash parks. Dog control orders exist to ensure a safe experience for the wider community. Download the app today.

City of Greater Geelong Dog Walking Tracks.

City of Greater Geelong Domestic Animal Management Plan

On-leash Areas

All public land along our coastal reserves are designated as being dogs  'on-leash', except where otherwise signed or specified. This includes roads, car parks, pathways including shared and walking trails, beach access ways, playgrounds, BBQ areas, jetties and piers, and sections of beaches.

No dogs or people are permitted in the dunes at anytime.

Supervised Off-leash Areas

Within supervised off-leash areas, the handler must have a dog lead in their possession and place the dog back on the leash when leaving the off leash area. The handler must be able to:

  • Demonstrate audible control of the dog, keeping the dog in visual and audible range to allow it to be effectively recalled at any time
  • Recall and restrain the dog when encountering other people or animals, until both parties have moved apart at a safe distance
  • Prevent the dog entering water habitats that contain wildlife, beach nesting birds or chase wildlife
  • Control the dog at all times if it is attracted to the motion of wheels
  • Muzzle and not off leash when in public place a dog that is aggressive to people or other dogs, behave in anti-social manner or are over excitable
  • If declared menacing/dangerous/restricted breed not be permitted off-lead


Cats are carnivorous and extremely good hunters feeding on our small native animals. Cats have been known to travel several kilometres a night to search for prey. They have excellent eyesight, hearing and smell and can detect the smallest movement metres away.

Unfortunately we have an increase in domestic cats roaming through the coastal reserves day and night. Cats prey on native rodents, reptiles, birds, frogs, bats, possums, and insects, and transfer disease to our wildlife.

Under the Domestic Animal Management Plan for the City of Greater Geelong, cats must be confined on your property between sunset and sunrise. This is not only to protect your cat from the dangers lurking in the neighbourhood, but also to help protect our fragile and diminishing wildlife across the Bellarine.

Due to the issues related to cats roaming within the reserves, Barwon Coast has a legal obligation to control these animals. If you struggle to confine your cats to your property, there are alternative solutions available.

A simple and effective method to contain your cat to your property may be fence extensions that prevent your cat from jumping over.

A cat enclosure may be attached to an existing structure or free standing. Enclosures allow your cat freedom and exercise without fear, injury or harm. As cats prefer to exercise by stretching, jumping or climbing, elevated levels are more favourable.

Desexing your cat prevents the urge to roam and improves your cat’s health, preventing disease and injury, and promotes longevity. Cats not desexed run the risk of mammary cancer, pyometra, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, depressed immune system and poor physical health, tumours of the uterus, ovaries and testies and prostate cancer.

Help us protect our wildlife at the same time protecting your cat.

For more information on cat proof fencing.