New Animal Management and Exercise Plan

Council has adopted its Animal Management and Exercise Plan 2020-2025 (AMEP). The five-year plan proposes strategies to effectively manage growing dog and cat populations while balancing human amenity, the environment, and the needs of pet and non-pet owners alike.

The plan will enable about 40 per cent of Cockburn’s coast to be accessible to dogs, plus provide more off-leash dog exercise areas at large public open spaces, and two new dog parks.

Based on RSPCA estimates, there were 21,579 dogs in the City of Cockburn in 2019, with a 2024 forecast of 24,296. To date (October 2020), 18,772 dogs are registered with the City.

The creation of the plan was a community-led process, driven by a series of community workshops, pop-up stalls, online and postal surveys, culminating in a plan that reflects the community’s needs and sentiment for a wide range of animal related topics.

Where must dogs be on a lead in the City of Cockburn?

Dogs must be on-lead in all areas unless signage states otherwise. This includes most public places, unless it is an area where all dogs are prohibited.

Beach access for dogs

What beaches are prohibited?

  • Woodman Point between Ammunition Jetty and south around the point to Jervoise Bay dog beach
  • Dogs remain prohibited at Coogee Beach, Ngarkal Beach at Port Coogee Marina and Chelydra Beach between the northern end of Port Coogee and South Fremantle Power Station.
If you do not want to be around dogs, you may prefer to visit these beaches. 

Why is Woodman Point beach now prohibited to dogs?  

This closure was prompted by significant objection from the community, stakeholders and adverse findings from an independent Environmental Impact Assessment. This will protect the vulnerable Australian Fairy Tern population and other shorebirds, including migratory species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

A proposal for this beach to change from on-leash to off-leash was rejected by a significant proportion of community survey participants and the Department of Local Government, Sport & Cultural Industries, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Woodman Point Regional Park Community Advisory Committee, Birdlife Australia, the Conservation Council of WA and Native ARC.

Making this beach off-leash could generate significant impact to threatened bird species, triggering the approval of the Federal Minister for Environment.

What beaches can dogs access?

  • C. Y. O’Connor Beach north of South Fremantle Power Station to the Catherine Point groyne
  • Jervoise Bay dog beach facing south to the Henderson shipbuilding area, accessible via Jervoise Bay Cove road

What did the independent Environmental Impact Assessment find?

  • Woodman Point is used by a variety of federally protected shore-nesting birds
  • The birds prevalent at Woodman Point require safe foraging and roosting habitat within coastal areas to rest, feed and accumulate the energy resource required to successfully migrate back to breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere
  • Disturbance to migratory shorebirds from dogs, people and other stimulus imposes a high energetic cost, potentially compromising the ability for the birds to build sufficient energy reserves for migration, and continued disturbance at a site can render the habitat unsuitable for future nesting 
  • The City would be required to seek federal approval to continue allowing coastal usage by dogs or we could be breaching the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

New places for dogs to exercise 

 Several large public opens spaces are being trialled as off-leash areas, when not in use by recognised sporting groups or by schools.
  • Phase one reserves (as of 21 October 2020): Allendale Park, Aubin Grove Reserve, Beeliar Reserve, Colorado Park, Goodchild Reserve and Santich Park
  • Phase two reserves (mid 2021): Enright Reserve, Len Packham Reserve and Success Reserve.
  • Phase three reserves: Other specified reserves.
Two new dog parks are also proposed for construction following further consultation:
  • Radonich Park (Beeliar) - late 2021
  • Macfaull Park (Spearwood) - late 2022.

New services and facilities for the next five years

The AMEP includes many new initiatives over the next five years. These include, but are not limited to:

Provide sufficient, safe spaces for pets, people and wildlife

  • Change Woodman Point to prohibited
  • Provide clearer delineation of zoning of dog areas along coastline
  • Assess possible restrictions of dogs in City managed conservation areas
  • Implement a traffic light style signage system in parks, reserves and at beaches
  • Undertake a phased trial of allowing dogs off-leash at sporting reserves when sport fields are not in use (see 'New places for dogs to exercise')
  • Review and improve existing dog exercise areas (shade, sensory plants, agility equipment, waste disposal and drinking water stations)
  • Provide two new dog parks following further consultation: MacFaull Park and Radonich Park.

Encourage responsible dog ownership

  • Increase Rangers staff to proactively patrol dog prohibited areas
  • Public education programs to improve owner supervision and control in off-leash areas
  • Develop and administer educational campaigns
  • Increase dog and cat registration checks
  • Develop Council Policy for standardising the issuing of animal control infringements
  • Explore expanding animal subsidies for desexing.

Encourage smart city, digital initiatives for animal management.

  • Install geo-fenced areas with readers that can track dogs entering into dog prohibited areas
  • Provide dog registration kiosks at dog friendly community events and dog exercise areas
  • Install CCTV cameras and analytics programs to monitor usage of dog parks
  • Provide solar powered sensor lights for dog owners wishing to use dog parks after hours
  • Install outdoor dog wash stations at C.Y. O’Connor Beach.

More information and contact

Please email questions to [email protected] or call 9411 3444.



City of Cockburn
Whadjuk Boodja
9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

PO Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaditj boodjar kep wer kaadidjiny kalyakool yoodaniny, wer koora wer yeyi ngalak Birdiya koota-djinanginy.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for Country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past and present.