Domestic Pets

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.



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



It is important to ensure that all types of beach users can access the coast. Dog walking is a popular use of beaches along the Barwon Coast coastal reserve. The Barwon Coast Dog Control Orders are regulations that control where you can and cannot take your dog for a walk on the beach and whether it can be off-leash under "effective control" or  on-leash.

Dog walking is an important pastime for many local community members and visitors to the coast. These regulations help balance the use of beaches by dog walkers with access for other users, including those who wish to access the beach without dogs. They also enable the better protection of the natural environment and wildlife along the coast.

Download the 2021/2022 Barwon Coast Dog Controls Brochure

The Barwon Coast Dog Control Orders were brought into effect in January 2021 following extensive community engagement in partnership with the City of Greater Geelong (the City). The controls are law under the Domestic Animal Act 1994 and are enforced by the City.


  1. How were the dog control orders developed?
  2. Dog Control Order Areas & Rationale
  3. Ocean Grove Main Beach Dog Control Trial
  4. What is Effective Control?
  5. What are Your Responsibilities?


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 Geelong; 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



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.