Guidelines for pets in parks

Guidelines for pets in parks

Although most nation­al parks do not allow dogs or oth­er pets, there are some parks that wel­come dogs on leads. If you’re bring­ing your dog, it’s cru­cial to:

  • Keep them on des­ig­nat­ed walk­ing trails.
  • Always have them under your con­trol with a lead no longer than two meters. 

Find a dog-friend­ly park

Won­der­ing where to take your dog for a walk? Use our Find a Park’ tool and fil­ter by Dog walk­ing (restric­tions apply)’.

Learn more about dog-walking:

Assis­tance dogs

Assis­tance dogs are per­mit­ted in most pub­lic places and are there­fore wel­come in South Australia’s parks and reserves.

What are assis­tance dogs?

Assis­tance dogs are spe­cial­ly trained to enable peo­ple with a dis­abil­i­ty to par­tic­i­pate in all aspects of soci­ety. They are trained for a range of pur­pos­es includ­ing assist­ing peo­ple who are blind or vision impaired, peo­ple who are hear­ing impaired, sup­port­ing chil­dren with autism and sup­port­ing peo­ple with men­tal health difficulties.

What are the entry requirements? 

Entry require­ments apply for parks and reserves that are usu­al­ly pro­hib­it dogs, such as nation­al parks. So, what are the entry require­ments for tak­ing assis­tance dogs into dog pro­hib­it­ed parks and reserves?

Han­dlers are required to car­ry and pro­duce evi­dence that the dog is an assis­tance dog. Types of evi­dence accept­ed are:

  • Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card issued for the ani­mal by an accred­it­ed assis­tance dog train­ing provider.
  • A let­ter from the visitor’s med­ical prac­ti­tion­er stat­ing that it is an assis­tance dog and what its pur­pose is.
  • A state or ter­ri­to­ry gov­ern­ment-issued pub­lic trans­port assis­tance ani­mal pass.

The fol­low­ing park entry con­di­tions also apply:

If the park has a vis­i­tor infor­ma­tion cen­tre it is rec­om­mend­ed you pop in to intro­duce your­self and the dog and show the accred­i­ta­tion to the rangers, this way they can sight the dog and let oth­er staff in the park know. 

  • The dog must always be on a leash no more than 2 metres long and under strict con­trol by the handler.
  • The assis­tance dog must not fright­en or endan­ger native wildlife or be aggres­sive towards oth­er visitors.
  • Assis­tance dogs must not be tak­en out­side of des­ig­nat­ed vis­i­tor sites (e.g. pic­nic areas) and walk­ing trails.

Han­dlers must ensure that the dog meets behav­iour and hygiene stan­dards appro­pri­ate to pub­lic places. The ani­mal will not be allowed park entry if it has an infec­tious dis­ease that could impact on the health of the pub­lic or native ani­mals. Any dog fae­ces are to be removed from the park and dis­posed of respon­si­bly. Our parks are leave no trace so the bag of dog fae­ces must be tak­en out of the park with you.

Before vis­it­ing:

Before tak­ing your assis­tance dog into a park or reserve, oth­er than those list­ed above, it is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed that you con­tact the park you are vis­it­ing so we can pro­vide you with the lat­est infor­ma­tion on any poten­tial haz­ards with­in spe­cif­ic parks that may affect your dog. This also allows oper­a­tional staff to be noti­fied of the dog and han­dlers pres­ence, vehi­cle reg­is­tra­tion and poten­tial loca­tions that they might vis­it, which mit­i­gates the pos­si­bil­i­ty of any com­pli­ance issue and makes for a more enjoy­able vis­it. Many parks have bait­ing pro­grams and rewil­d­ing pro­grams which are sig­nif­i­cant to the longevi­ty of rein­tro­duced species. This infor­ma­tion is passed onto those with assis­tance dogs when they noti­fy the park before enter­ing as it helps pro­tect both the dog and the native ani­mals alike. Please con­tact the park via the phone num­bers list­ed on each park page or con­tact the vis­i­tor ser­vices cen­tre via email.

Why does my dog need to be on a lead?

Dogs off leash can have impacts on native wildlife and oth­er vis­i­tors in parks. They can also be at risk from poi­son baits, snake bites and wildlife.

Risks to wildlife:

  • Dogs off tracks will leave a scent in the bush that will keep wildlife away.
  • Uncon­trolled dogs may fright­en wildlife and dis­rupt their nat­ur­al behaviour.
  • Some dogs will kill or injure wildlife.

Risks to oth­er park visitors

  • Dogs may be aggres­sive to oth­er park visitors.
  • Even friend­ly dogs can knock peo­ple over caus­ing injury.
  • Some peo­ple want to enjoy parks with­out dogs.

Risks to your dog

  • Poi­son baits may be laid to con­trol fox­es. Baits can be fatal to dogs.
  • Even if your dog is friend­ly, oth­er dogs may not be.
  • Your dog can catch par­a­sites (such as fleas and ticks) from wildlife.
  • Snake bites are a real risk in nat­ur­al areas such as parks.
  • Wildlife such as kan­ga­roos and koalas will defend them­selves if threat­ened by a dog and can cause sig­nif­i­cant injury to or the death of your dog.

Dog walk­ing tips from Adelady