Dog Leash Laws in the United States

Several states have state-wide dog leash laws and requirements. These laws are usually referred to as "Running at Large Statutes." In states without "Running at Large Statutes," local governments, such as counties, towns, cities, municipalities, and boroughs, often enact their own leash laws.

But even where there are state-wide leash laws, it's often the case that the state government permits local governments to pass their own leash laws. Often, the local laws are stricter than the state laws. If any confusion arises over the leash laws in your home, contact your local government for more information.

Please note, there are many state laws that require dangerous dogs to be on leashes and muzzled to protect public safety. For more information, visit our Dangerous Dog Laws.

To learn the dog leash laws in your home state, click on the map or find your state below:

Alabama Leash Law

Dogs are not permitted to run at large in Alabama. They must be appropriately confined at all times, either by a leash when off the property or other means to keep them within an owner's property. A dog owner may be fined between $2 and $50 for failure to leash the dog.

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Alaska Leash Law

Alaska does not have a state-wide leash law. Local governments may make leash laws -- check with your local municipality for leash laws in your area.

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Arizona Leash Law

In Arizona, dogs must be leashed when they are at public parks and on public school property. Generally, no female dog in heat or vicious dog may go at large.

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Arkansas Leash Law

Arkansas does not have a state-wide leash law.

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California Leash Law

It is unlawful for any person to permit any female dog which is owned, harbored, or controlled by him, to run at large at any time during the period when the dog is in heat or breeding condition. West's Ann.Cal.Food & Agric.Code § 30954

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Colorado Leash Law

Colorado does not have a state-wide leash law, but all dogs must be under control at all times. The state gives local governments the power to make leash laws for municipalities. Please check with your municipality for leash laws in your area.

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Connecticut Leash Law

Under Connecticut law, it is unlawful to permit a dog to run at large. The only exception is for hunting dogs. Under this statute, if an owner or keeper permits a dog to run at large when the owner or keeper knows, or should have known, of the dog’s vicious propensities, and the dog bites someone, the owner or keeper is not only subject to civil liability, but can also be fined up to $1,000 and be imprisoned for six months. The only defense is when the victim teased, tormented, or abused the dog. The law also states that guide dogs must be on a leash when out in public and wearing a harness or an orange-colored leash that makes it identifiable as a guide dog.

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Delaware Leash Law

Dogs are not permitted to run at large in Delaware, unless they are accompanied and under the reasonable control of an owner or custodian. The only exception is for farm dogs.

From sunset to sunrise, dogs must be: (1) confined in an enclosure that prevents escape; or (2) firmly secured with a collar or chain or other device, so they can't stray from the premises; or (3) under the reasonable control of some person. If a dog is running at large and bites someone, the owner or custodian of the dog is subject to civil liability, as well as a fine of $100 to $500 for the first offense, and $750 to $1,500 for second and subsequent offenses.

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District of Columbia Leash Law

The Council of the District of Columbia is hereby authorized and empowered to make and modify, and the Mayor of the District of Columbia is hereby authorized and empowered to enforce, regulations in and for the District of Columbia to regulate the keeping and leashing of dogs and to regulate or prohibit the running at large of dogs

DC ST § 1-303.41

If any owner or possessor of a female dog shall permit her to go at large in the District of Columbia while in heat, he shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding $20.

DC CODE § 22-1311

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Florida Leash Law

Florida does not have a state-wide leash law.

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Georgia Leash Law

Georgia does not have a state-wide leash law.

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Hawaii Dog Leash Law

It is unlawful for owners to permit dogs to run at large on public highways, streets, unfenced lots, or not within a sufficient enclosure. It is unlawful for female dogs to run at large while in heat.

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Idaho Leash Law

Idaho does not have a state-wide leash law.

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Illinois Leash Law

Dogs are prohibited from running at large in Illinois.

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Indiana Leash Law

Indiana does not have a state-wide leash law.

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Iowa Leash Law

Iowa does not have a state-wide leash law. Animals may not run at large, however. Dogs who are running at large and are not wearing valid rabies vaccination tags will be impounded by a local board of health or law enforcement official.

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Kansas Leash Law

Kansas does not have a state-wide leash law.

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Kentucky Leash Law

Every female dog in heat shall be confined in a building or secure enclosure in such a manner that the female dog cannot come in contact with a male dog except for a planned breeding.

KRS § 258.255

Any peace officer or animal control officer may seize or destroy any dog found running at large between the hours of sunset and sunrise and unaccompanied and not under the control of its owner or handler.

KRS § 258.265

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Louisiana Leash Law

In Louisiana, dogs are not permitted to run at large. Guide dogs must be on leashes when out in public.

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Maine Leash Law

It is unlawful for any dog, except a hunting dog, to run at large in Maine.

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Maryland Leash Law

Counties may impose regulations for the seizure and disposal of dogs running at large.

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Massachusetts Leash Law

Massachusetts does not have a state-wide leash law. The state requires dogs to be on leashes when on an officially designated public highway rest area. Additionally, local municipalities may enact laws -- please check with your local government for leash laws in your area.

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Michigan Leash Law

Owners must restrain their dogs on leashes when dogs are not on their owner's property. Dogs over six months must be registered and wear a collar at all times. Additionally, female dogs in heat must be kept on their owner's premises or restrained on a leash.

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Minnesota Leash Law

Minnesota does not have a state-wide leash law. Unlicensed dogs may not run at large -- they will be impounded.

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Mississippi Leash Law

Mississippi does not have a state-wide leash law. Local municipalities and local governments may enact leash laws -- please check with yours for leash laws in your area.

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Missouri Leash Law

Missouri has a "State Lands Leash Law." Under this law, dogs must be on leashes no longer than 10 feet when they are in state parks or on state historic sites.

Additionally, Missouri law prohibits dogs that have rabies, or dogs that have been exposed, to rabies to run at large.

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Montana Leash Law

Montana does not have a state-wide leash law. The state allows local governments and municipalities to enact leash laws for their respective areas.

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Nebraska Leash Law

In counties where the population is 80,000 or more, Nebraska law prohibits dogs from running at large. The owner of any dog running at large for 10 days without a collar as required shall be fined an amount not to exceed $25.

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Nevada Leash Law

It is unlawful for the owner of any dog to permit such dog to run at large if such dog is actively tracking, pursuing, harassing, attacking or killing any wildlife in a state-owned wildlife management area.

N.R.S. 503.636

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New Hampshire Leash Law

It is unlawful for any dog to run at large in New Hampshire, except (1) when the dog is accompanied by its owner or a custodian; or (2) where the dog is being used for, or being trained for, hunting, herding, or supervised competition and exhibition.

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New Jersey Leash Law

The governing body of every municipality may make, amend, repeal and enforce ordinances to prohibit or regulate the running at large of dogs.

N.J.S.A. 40:48-1

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New Jersey Leash Law

The governing body of every municipality may make, amend, repeal and enforce ordinances to prohibit or regulate the running at large of dogs.

N.J.S.A. 40:48-1

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New York Leash Law

New York law allows local governments to make leash laws. Check with your local municipality for leash laws in your area.

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North Carolina Leash Law

In North Carolina, dogs are not permitted to run at large at nighttime, unless they are accompanied by a member of the owner’s family or some other person who has the owner’s permission.

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North Dakota Leash Law

North Dakota does not have a state-wide leash law.

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Ohio Leash Law

In Ohio, dogs must be physically confined or restrained or properly leashed and controlled by a person, except in cases where the dog is hunting with its owner or keeper.

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Oklahoma Leash Law

In Oklahoma, people with dogs must have them on a leash when on state park property, recreational ground, or state monument. Oklahoma authorizes each municipality to regulate dogs running at large.

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Oregon Leash Law

A dog is a public nuisance if it is a female in heat and running at large

O.R.S. § 459-305

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Pennsylvania Leash Law

In Pennsylvania, dogs must be confined within their owner’s property; firmly secured on the premises so they cannot stray; or reasonably controlled by a person.

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Rhode Island Leash Law

City or town councils may make any ordinances concerning dogs in their cities or towns as the councils deem expedient, pertaining to the conduct of dogs, which ordinances shall include regulations relating to unrestricted dogs, leash laws, confinement, and destruction of vicious dogs.

Gen.Laws 1956, § 4-13-15.1

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South Carolina Leash Law

In South Carolina, dogs must not be allowed to run at large. In state parks, dogs must be leashed at all times.

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South Dakota Leash Law

South Dakota authorizes each municipality to regulate or prohibit the running of dogs at large.

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Tennessee Leash Law

In Tennessee, it is unlawful to permit a dog to run at large, unless the dog is engaged in legal hunting or herding.

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Texas Leash Law

The owner of a dog has a duty to keep that dog under reasonable control at all times, and to keep that dog from running at large.

V.T.C.A., Health & Safety Code § 822.012

The owner or person having control of a dog at least six months of age in a county adopting this subchapter may not allow the dog to run at large unless the dog the dog is registers and is wearing an identification tag.

V.C.T.A.,Health & Safety Code § 822.031

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Utah Leash Law

Utah authorizes municipalities to regulate the keeping of dogs.

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Vermont Leash Law

Vermont does not have a state-wide leash law.

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Virginia Leash Law

Virginia does not have a state-wide leash law. Local governments and municipalities may enact leash laws.

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Washington Leash Law

Washington does not have a state-wide leash law.

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West Virginia Leash Law

West Virginia does not have a law that requires dogs to be leashed. It does, however, have a law that holds dog owners and keepers liable for all damages caused by dogs that are permitted to run at large.

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Wisconsin Leash Law

The state of Wisconsin holds dog owners and keepers liable for all damages caused by dogs that run at large.

Dogs may not run at large or be untagged; dogs found to be running at large or untagged will be impounded. Owners of such dogs will be fined up to $100 for the first offense, and up to $200 for subsequent offenses.

A dog is considered to be running at large if it is off the premises of its owner and not under the control of the owner or some other person. A dog that is actively engaged in a legal hunting activity, including training, is not considered to be running at large if the dog is monitored or supervised by a person and the dog is on land that is open to hunting or on land on which the person has obtained permission to hunt or to train a dog. Dogs running at large or an untagged dog is subject to impoundment. An officer shall attempt to capture and restrain any dog running at large and any untagged dog.

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Wyoming Leash Law

Wyoming does not have a state-wide leash law. However, a dog running at law may be declared a public nuisance. Local governments and municipalities may enact leash laws.

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Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

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