Dog leashing

Dogs holding their leads in their mouths and the bow wow leash me now logo

Dogs make wonderful companions, family members and workers with approximately 10,000+ domestic dogs living in Byron Shire. 

Leashing all dogs in public spaces not designated ‘off-leash’ ensures you’re always in control and attentive to your dog (including their waste). 

When everyone leashes, it not only benefits you and your dog, but other dogs, dog owners, people and animals because leashing: 

  1. reduces unwanted dog approaches and stressful interactions 
  2. limits aggression and minimises bites 
  3. keeps your dog safe and under control 
  4. helps to protect our wildlife.  


Leashing means avoiding a $330 fine. There can be a much larger fine if an off-leash dog rushes, harasses or chases any person or animal. 

See more information about responsibilities and penalties.

With reported dog attacks on the rise, you can help ‘lead the way’ to community safety, peace of mind and harmony for all people and creatures.  

Bow Wow! Thanks for leashing now!  

Map of off-leash (off lead) dog exercise areas 

There are eight designated off-leash (off lead) dog exercise areas in the Byron Shire. Use the off-leash map below, or download a pdf map from the Dog exercise areas web page.

Online off-leash map 

Why does dog leashing matter?

Leashing is good dog community care. With dog owners generally spending more time in nature than non-dog owners, many dog owners conscientiously leash their dogs in public spaces and understand the potential impacts of free-roaming dogs.

Six things to consider

  1. Even if your off-leash dog is friendly, other on-leash dogs can be more protective or aggressive when approached by off-leash dogs.
  2. Whether your dog is legally on or off-leash, before approaching an unfamiliar dog look for these canine signs.
  3. In unexpected or threatening situations, normally predictable dogs can act out of character on canine instinct, especially in highly stimulating environments.
  4. Dog walking in natural habitat can reduce the number of birds by 41% and the types of birds by 35%.
  5. Off-leash dogs cause breeding shorebirds to leave their nests for longer than on-leash dogs so keeping dogs out of sand dunes helps (endangered) shorebirds to successfully raise their chicks.
  6. Dogs often out-number threatened wildlife. For example, there are approximately 100 dogs to every koala across 25% of the shire, including where koalas move between fragmented habitat close to areas regularly frequented by numerous domestic dogs.

In fact, appropriately leashing dog owners can be good wardens for nature and the environment in general. Find out more about Byron Shire’s wildlife.

Photo by Cassiano Psomas on Unsplash Happy woman with dog on leash.

Research on dog walking in natural habitats by Banks and Bryant, 2007 and Weston & Elgar, 2007.

Local dog owner research

Council recently engaged over four hundred dog owners across the shire via an online survey to find: 

  • 76% own one dog and 24% own two or more dogs.
  • Two in five dogs always come when called and leave wildlife alone.
  • 68% strongly enjoy their dog being able to move freely off-leash.
  • 86% believe both the community and council should protect wildlife and their habitat.

See information about dog friendly Byron Shire here.

Dog owners surveyed identified five key benefits of leashing:

  • Control of dog
  • Safety of my dog
  • Safety of other dogs and people
  • Safety of animals/wildlife
  • Helps dog stimulation and mental health  

Likewise, five key challenges with leashing also emerged:

  • Dog can’t exercise properly
  • Problems with non-complying dogs and owners
  • Reduced dog play and socialisation
  • No challenges (e.g. if dog well-trained)
  • Difficult to exercise/bad behaviour

Download an infographic of Topline survey results - Bow wow dog owner research survey(PDF, 771KB) 

Photo by Brady Wakely on Unsplash Happy dog on leash at park

What dog breeds are popular in Byron Shire?

According to NSW Pet Registry records, the shire’s mix of most popular dog breeds include:

  • Australian Kelpie
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Border Collie
  • Chihuahua
  • Dachshund
  • Fox Terrier
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Golden Retriever
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Maltese
  • Poodle
  • Shih Tzu
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Tenterfield Terrier

Find out what to consider when choosing a dog breed and about pet registration and micro chipping.

Photo by Tom Garrity on Unsplash Panting dog on blue leash.

Register for dog owner information updates

If you would like to register for occasional domestic dog-related information and events, please enter your details here: 

Registration for dog related information and events
ie. Mullumbimby

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