National parks dog ban not changing any time soon

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national parks dog ban
National parks view the pet ban as a way to protect native fauna. PIC: Sunshine Coast Daily

One of the biggest bugbears of pet-owning grey nomads is the longstanding ban on taking dogs into national parks … but it seems things aren’t about to change any time soon.

A spokesperson for Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) told the GNT there were “no proposals to review the Nature Conservation Act or Recreation Areas Management Act in this regard”.

As in other states, with the exception of ‘assistance dogs’, the furry companions of travellers are banned from the vast majority of parks in Queensland.

“People visit these national parks and protected areas to enjoy wildlife and the natural environment free of the presence or impacts of pets or domestic animals,” said the DES spokesperson. “Domestic animals, especially cats and dogs, can pose a threat to an area’s natural values and native fauna.”

It’s a similar situation in South Australia. While there are some parks where dogs are allowed on-lead where the risk to native wildlife is low, Grant Pelton from SA Department for Environment and Water Group Executive Director for Parks and Regions said these were very much the minority.

“National parks regularly use poisonous ground baiting to target introduced species, which could be fatal to dogs,” he said. “Also native animals are vulnerable to diseases that dogs may carry, plus barking and scents left by dogs can scare wildlife and attract other predatory animals.”

Despite these arguments, grey nomads like Stefan Porajaski are not convinced.

“I love traveling my country and I love my dog,” he said. “It’s time to stop putting unjust limits on everything and allow us to live and enjoy Australia.”

He suggests a series of conditions could be applied that would neutralise the perceived problems in allowing dogs into national parks. He thinks these should be: registering the dog with a local council and having it microchipped; registering it with Parks and Wildlife for a small yearly fee; de-sexing it; always having it on a leash; having it temperament tested; and requiring owners to always carry waste bags.

“I have seen maybe one or two pets in a park over my time but hundreds of feral dogs and cats,” said Mr Porajaski.

However, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service says the problem is slightly more widespread. From July 2015 to June 2018, it issued more than 920 penalty infringement notices to people taking live animals into a national park or recreation area management (RAM) area without approval.

While these infractions can incur an on-the-spot fine of $130, these were not always applied, and some offenders escaped with a warning.

One ‘dream solution’ proposed by some grey nomads is for a dog-sitting service to be set up at the entrance to major national parks … but, again, that’s not on the official radar.

“Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is not aware of any proposals for dog-sitting services,” said a DES spokesperson. “Providing such a service off-park would be up to private businesses.”

  • Would you like to see pets allowed into national parks … under certain conditions? Or do you think the ban is fair and reasonable? Comment below.
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15 Responses to National parks dog ban not changing any time soon

  1. My dog weighs 4.6 kilograms. A miniature Jack Russell. What seems to be the bugbear is people taking very, and I mean very, large dogs with them or indeed more than one. I have seen 3 and on an odd occasion 4 dogs exit a van or a vehicle towing a van. Our dog is never off the lead and we do pick up after her. Some van parks are now putting a 10kg weight limit, and weighing them if necessary. The total ban is rubbish. Don’t want my dog? You don’t want me.

  2. How about a $100 bond and if your dog is seen breaking the rules, you loose your money and your dog is impounded for 48 hours.

  3. Although we have had dogs for 50 plus years we specifically enjoy going to NP’s where dogs are excluded. I have never met a dog owner yet who reckons their dogs cause any issues!

  4. I love my dog, therefore, it is always on lead, as I don’t want any accidents. National parks should be accessible to everyone. Australia is the worst country I’ve encountered for their ‘dog laws’!
    I have paid taxes all my working life and feel that I have paid my dues, now I travel and want to see as much of Oz as I can, that includes all national parks. I am a responsible owner, bath her, groom her and pick up her droppings. No one else does.
    She goes where I go. She is my responsibility, and that means everywhere. Also, if I wanted 3/4 dogs to travel in my caravan with me, that is my business, no one else’s. If you want one dog, that’s fine also, but people need to mind their own business.

  5. I have 2 Show and Breed Kelpies both not desexed, registered with home Council, Microchipped, on leads, pick up doggy doo.
    Mine are well travelled, very social and we do not do National Parks, we go where we can take the dogs their our family. Happy to pay for a permit for the dogs if that is what it takes to have more Rangers out there patrolling and fining people who do the wrong thing. What about litter saw this on the Nullabor in the free rest stops with bins provided, people were too lazy to bin it, 4 legged can be better than 2 legged.

  6. At the Nullabor Rest Stops, there were signs telling you that 1080 baits even though the baits are not put there, the birds drop them. Easy to erect a sign to warn people, my 2 Kelpies will not wear a muzzle as I never brought them up to wear one. When we stopped on the Nullabor, on lead always and heads up no sniffing, do your thing quickly and in the caravan.
    The dogs did not like the red dirt, they were very happy to see grass.

  7. Provide plastic bags at entrance to walk like Council provides bags and bins to dispose it upon return. I would be happy to pay $25 per dog in QLD for 1 year membership with repricol rights in other states. We miss out seeing so much of Australia because we have dogs. Why do we need a Clean up Australia Day – because of all the Litter created by humans.
    The health benefits of having a dog is great, we have been places or done things because of the dogs. Exercise is so important and even more so as Bob developed a heart condition last year and needs to be more active to lose weight within limits of not overdoing it. So, fresh air and exercise and enjoyment are on the list with our 2 fur babies.

  8. No problem with that Judith, except that you will have to adjust your thinking about taking them in to National Parks, they are set aside as a natural protective area and for that reason, dogs and cats, the natural enemy of wildlife, are not permitted, yours may be fine but there is no room for discrimination. Simple as that.

  9. We were recently in a free camp and the owners of the dog behind us just let it bark day and night. Some owners are not responsible. Plus they never picked up its droppings. I know this is not a National Park I am just making a point that not everyone is responsible.

  10. We live in a village that allows dogs and as an ex dog owner I do love dogs but not the dog that barks its guts out when their owner goes out, like the one next door. When I say little Fifi was very distressed while you were out they just say she doesn’t bark much. What do I do? Its not Fifi’s fault they go out without her. Who will go first, me or the dog? I’m not joking the dog might outlast me.

    By the way don’t lift the ban.

  11. Australias is the extinction capital of the World.
    More species are lost here than anywhere else.
    Low quality pet owners abandon their pets in parks and cause havoc.
    You are not to be trusted and a total ban should remain in perpetuity.

    • Greenies are a legend in their own minds

  12. Domestic pets are not permitted in National Parks! What is the question here….. Just comply. It is not that hard.

  13. Australia has a ever increasing dog population, and a ever decreasing wildlife population which needs all the help it can get, every dog owner claims there precious pooch is perfect, there not! Fining people is rather pointless when the rare wildlife is being harassed and scared away because of Fido. No pets in parks!!

  14. Caravan parks where no dogs are allowed you will see wild life from wallabies, lace monitors, echidnas, bandicoots, plumed whistling ducks, stone-curlews,even cassowaries but where dogs allowed that is all you see. Same will happen to campsites in National Parks. I know where I prefer to stay.

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