Your dog may be flawless and always listens to your commands. Your dog may be perfectly trained and would never move without your permission. Your dog may be friendly and love all of God’s creatures, humans and animals alike.
You must still keep your dog on its leash.
It’s The Law.
Keeping your dog on a leash is a legal requirement as stated in the Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 53.06.2. You must keep your dog leashed any time your dog is off your property.
The same law applies in most municipal codes.
Funnily enough, many people overlook this reason and let their dogs off the leash in public anyway. That may be because the law differs in different jurisdictions. Know the law in your area and keep your dog leashed.
The law specifies various details about the leash. For example, leash length. Legally, the leash must adhere to a certain length limit to be considered a “leashed dog.”
In most California jurisdictions, the leash length requirement is no longer than six feet.
Some jurisdictions don’t have a limit on specific length of a leash. Some have longer leash length. In Long Beach, for example, leash law requires the leash to be no longer than eight feet in length.)
If you are using a retractable leash, it cannot stretch longer than the leash length requirement. So, you cannot use a 10-foot retractable leash even if you keep it at 6 feet long.
Your dog must be kept on a leash anytime it is off your property.
Many communities also have designated areas where dogs are permitted off leash. Dog parks, for example, provide citizens with a place to let their dogs run free and socialize with each other.
There are some ordinances that will make an exception for dogs who are under voice control by their owners. These jurisdictions work on the assumption that responsible pet owners will be able to use verbal commands to stop their dogs from misbehaving in public. Other areas waive dog leash laws if the dog is in a training program or has already completed obedience school. (Livermore and Sacramento leashing laws.)
Los Angeles does not waive leash laws for dogs whose owners have voice control over them.
The penalties for failing to follow dog leash laws vary just as widely as the laws themselves. In Los Angeles County, police and animal control officers can issue citations to owners of dogs “at large.” Owners must appear in court and may be charged with a fine. The first offense will cost $100, the second will be $250 and the third will be $500.
To Keep Your Dog Safe.
Dogs that are under control are less likely to engage in something harmful, either to themselves or others.
An off-leash dog can eat something it shouldn’t, drink polluted water, or encounter some harmful chemical another way. (Something that was sprayed on the grass, for example.) An unleashed dog can get into a dangerous situation with automobiles, people riding bicycles, broken glass, discarded, rancid food or a sick or rabid wild animal. A dog that’s roaming free can get sprayed by a skunk, encounter a porcupine or a rattlesnake, or get injured chasing some wildlife.
A dog off a leash is not easily monitored. Dogs can become hypothermic when in cold water and run the risk of an accidental drowning. When summer temperatures get very hot, dogs can get heat stroke or heat exhaustion, both of which can result in serious injury and in rare cases can be fatal.
A visit to an emergency pet hospital can be expensive even if it is only an easily treatable bacterial infection from surface water.
It’s even more expensive and heartbreaking if an encounter causes severe illness or even death to the dog- that could have been prevented. So please leash your dog.
By law, police officers on duty have the authority to shoot and kill your dog if they feel he may be a threat to them or impede their progress. (Even if they are the ones entering your yard.) Keep your dogs supervised and on a leash in public. A leashed dog’s actions are unlikely be misconstrued as a threat or impediment by officers of the law- or other people who are carrying arms for some reason.
To Keep Other Dogs and Animals Safe.
Keeping your dog on a leash keeps unwelcome encounters with other dogs under control. It prevents encounters with unfriendly dogs. Even dogs who may appear friendly at first can sometimes become aggressive during the greeting sniff, or may injure another dog by bowling into them or jumping on them.
Dogs that roam free are more likely to chase wildlife and can spook horses, potentially injuring the riders and the horses. In addition, a spooked horse can kick a dog so hard that it usually results in a serious injury or a fatality.
Think about other people’s pets before unleashing your dog.
There have been instances where people taking their rabbits out for a walk out at the park were chased by unleashed dogs.
And let’s not even talk about squirrels.
To Keep Owners Safe.
Dog owners who let their animals run off leash can be cited for violations of the leash laws. In some jurisdictions, especially in Los Angeles, this means a court appearance on top of a fine. A court appearance can possibly mean spending hours of your day in court so that you can then pay your fine. The first offense will cost $100, the second will be $250 and the third will be $500.
Dog owners are responsible and held liable for cleaning any mess their dogs make.
Dog owners are responsible and held liable for what their dogs do to both humans and other animals.
Any dog that causes a bite or a scratch on a human that involves dog saliva must be quarantined to ensure there is no threat of rabies. Keeping a dog quarantined is expensive and there is the high cost to consider: the treatment of the physical and emotional harm to a bite victim.
Every day about one thousand U.S. citizens incur dog bites that require emergency attention.
Dog bite law is a branch of law that greatly varies from state to state. California has noticed an increase in dangerous dogs and dog bites, and has created a set of laws that are especially stringent in order to keep its citizens safer. In California dog bite lawsuits, the defendant is liable for negligence per se if their dog causes injury to a person while at large in a public domain (excluding dog parks).
And talking about bites…
To Keep Other People Safe.
Not everyone is a “dog person”!!
Many people don’t want to encounter loose dogs! Many people are afraid of dogs– or certain breeds of dogs. (Not naming any, of course.) Cynophobia!! It’s a real thing.
People rely on leash laws when they go places. They go out with the expectation that there won’t be loose dogs to watch out for.
When a dog is loose in areas with leash laws, people’s rights to move around in public places without encountering loose dogs is infringed.
Not everyone you meet is physically able to withstand a dog jumping on them or running toward them.
If your dog runs toward people and there is a collision, there could easily be scratches or injuries from a dog knocking down a child, a pregnant woman, or an elderly person.
An unleashed dog can unintentionally cause injuries just by being friendly and jumping up to greet a person who is not able to handle it well.
So please keep your dog on a leash in public places.
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