A black dog on a leash


Keep your dogs on a leash

Published: 05 Aug 2022 11:54am

Dog owners are being urged to keep their dogs on a leash at all times, unless they are in a designated off-leash area, to avoid injury and upset to people and native animals.

Council staff have found dogs who have been let off their leashes while out for a walk harassing native wildlife both at Marrambidya Wetland and at the Wagga Zoo & Aviary.

Zoo Curator with swamp wallabies
KEEP US SAFE: Zoo Curator Wendy McNamara with two of the zoo’s swamp wallabies, who have been frightened by dogs running off-leash along the zoo’s boundary fence line.

Zoo Curator Wendy McNamara is particularly concerned by incidents of dog owners allowing their dogs to run up and down the boundary fence line of the zoo, which backs onto the Willans Hill Reserve.

“I recently had some people letting their large dog chase the swamp wallabies and emus up and down the fence while they watched on,” Ms McNamara said.

Two zoo curators with a swamp wallaby
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: The zoo’s swamp wallaby and emu enclosures back onto Willans Hill. Dog owners walking near the zoo must always keep their dogs on their leash to prevent the zoo animals becoming frightened and injuring themselves while fleeing.

“I had to tell the people that this was clearly distressing to the animals and asked if they would please move on – when the animals are stressed and running into the fences, it can cause them serious injury.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this has happened.”

Two weeks ago, zoo staff arrived at work to discover one of the swamp wallabies had sustained injuries to its left eye and ear overnight. While staff are unsure exactly what caused the injuries, they believe it may have resulted from the little marsupial fleeing dogs on the other side of the fence.

Swamp wallaby with an injured ear and eye eating a corn cob
GETTING BETTER: This little swamp wallaby is recovering after sustaining injuries to her left eye and ear.

Willans Hill does contain an off-leash area, which is not near the zoo, but is restricted to a section along the ridgeline from Lord Baden Powell Drive to Red Hill Road. The remainder of Willans Hill is an on-leash area.

Two zoo curators stand beside a chain link fence
ON-LEASH AREA: Zoo curators Wendy McNamara and Brooke Caines are urging dog owners to keep dogs on leashes whenever walking near the zoo.

Council’s Manager Environment & Regulatory Services Mark Gardiner said Council is experiencing similar issues at Marrambidya Wetland.

“The wetland is also an on-leash area, so it’s imperative that your dog stays on its leash while you’re there,” Mr Gardiner said.

“Dogs who are running around off-leash present many potential impacts at the wetlands, including harming bird and animal life by trampling nests, frightening birds which can cause them to abandon their nest, and actually attacking animals.

“Letting your dog run around also impacts other people’s enjoyment of the wetlands, including other dog owners with their animals on-leash, and parents of small children.

“Please keep your dog on their leash. They’ll enjoy their walk and no one will get hurt. If you want your dog to be able to run off-leash, please take them to one of our off-leash parks.”

A man and a teenage boy walk two dogs beside a wetland
SAFER FOR EVERYONE: Marrambidya Wetland is an on-leash area. Always keep your dogs on their leash to protect the native wildlife.

Wagga Wagga City Council has provided nine designated off-leash areas across the city for dogs, including enclosed agility tracks at Lake Albert and Gobbagombalin.

These locations are areas where dogs can run, exercise and socialise leash-free with other dogs and dog park visitors.

Wagga Wagga Off-Leash Dog Areas

Narrung Street Off-Leash Area

This fenced area is located at Narrung Street on the southern boundary of the Wiradjuri Golf Centre driving range.

Wilks Park Off-Leash Area

This area covers the Eastern side of Wilks Park North Wagga Wagga. The area is bounded by Parkan Pregan Lagoon, Hampden Avenue and the Island Lane.

Willans Hill Off-Leash Area

An area along the Willans Hill ridgeline south of Lord Baden Powell Drive to east of Red Hill Road.

O'Halloran Park Agility Track

O'Halloran Park Dog Agility Track, Lake Albert is located on the corner of Lakeside Drive and Lake Albert Road.

Lake Albert Boat Club Off-Leash Area

Boat Club Reserve, between Plumpton Road and Boat Club Carpark on the southern side of Nelson Road.

Forest Hill Off-Leash Area

This area covers the land running between Kurrajong Avenue at the intersection of Cypress Street and the western edge of the RAAF Base Wagga.

Wiradjuri Reserve

The area at the eastern end of the reserve between Pebble Beach and the boat ramp area.

Boorooma Off-Leash Area

Part of Explorer Park. The site is fenced and covers approximately 0.34 hectares.

Gobbagombalin Off-Leash Area

This is located on the corner of Yenda Avenue and Paradise Drive. The area is enclosed by high fences and the agility track is separated from the second enclosure.

For more information on the off-leash areas around the city, please contact Council’s customer service team on 1300 292 442.