Dog Leash Law
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Dog Leash Law


Many parts of the world have dog leash laws. Before your travel with your dog to a new region, it is therefore a good idea to learn more about the applicable dog leash law for that specific region. When discussing dog leash law, it is important to keep in mind that many countries and states have impound laws for loose dogs rather than dog leash law. This means that you may not be required to keep your dog on a leash, but if you let your dog roam free it can be impounded or even euthanized.

In the United States, just a few states have comprehensive leash requirements on a state level. In the remaining states, the leash laws are instead created on a lower lever. State laws frequently allow dog leash laws, or more correctly ordinances or referendums, to be created by cities, villages, townships and similar entities. It is assumed that local and municipal governments have a better understanding of what is best for their community, and that dog leash law should be created by those directly affected by it. This means that when you visit a nearby town, they may have a completely different dog leash law.

Generally speaking, there are 8 different types of dog leash law in the United States.

  1. General, state wide dog leash law.
  2. The dog leash law is not really a “leash law” per se, but prohibits dogs running at large.
  3. The dog leash law is not really a “leash law” per se, but prohibits dogs running at large between sunset and sunrise.
  4. No general dog leash law, but dogs must be kept on a leash in certain protected areas, such as beaches and parks.
  5. No general dog leash law, but dogs must be kept on a leash in rabies quarantine areas.
  6. No general dog leash law, but certain dogs must be kept on a leash. This can for instance be female dogs in heat or dogs deemed dangerous.
  7. Dog leash law regarding control of dogs in proximity to guide dogs (assistance dogs).
  8. State law allows localities to create their own dog leash law (ordinances or referendums).

When a dog is considered to be “running at large” varies from state to state. In certain states, only dogs without a vaccination tag, or unlicensed dogs, will be impounded. In other states, the dog must be roaming free for at least ten days.

It is common for dog leash law to have exceptions. You may for instance be allowed to keep your dog un-leashed during lawful hunting and field training. Exhibitions and competitions are also commonly excluded. A dog leash law can also state that the dog can be unleashed, as long as it is under reasonable control of some person.

So, why dog leash law? The answer is that keeping a dog on a leash can prevent on long series of potential problems. A leash is not only used to protect the public from dogs, dog bite injury and severe allergic reactions, it can also be used to prevent the dog from urinating and defecating in inappropriate places. An untrained dog without a leash can get lost, endanger traffic and damage other people’s property. It can also disturb other animals, including wildlife and assistance dogs.

Disclaimer: This text is meant as an introduction only and might contain errors. Always refer to a lawyer in your area to get the facts in your particular case.

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