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Dog Leash Laws You Need to Know

Dog Leash Laws You Need to Know

June 01, 2020 0 Comments

Even if your dog is the most behaved pooch out there, they may still act rashly when spooked or started. These dog leash laws will protect them from potential hazards that may arise when you let your dog go unleashed.

Read more to learn about leash laws and why you should follow them.

Why leash laws are important

Here are just some of the reasons why leash laws are important.

  • Your dog may suddenly jump onto a busy road and get hit by a vehicle.
  • Your dog might stalk or harm local wildlife, which could be a member of an endangered or protected species. 
  • Your dog might end up hurting someone when they get too excited. And you could end up entangled in a lawsuit.
  • Your dog could eat something harmful—possibly even fatal—while roaming around unleashed and unsupervised.
  • Your dog could get seriously hurt if they encounter an aggressive dog.

With that said, a dog leash is vital to the health and well-being of your dog. However, do take note that you should only use a high-quality leash or harness to ensure their safety and comfort at all times. 

Dog leash laws by state

Dog leash laws will vary by state. For example, some states do not have state-wide leash laws, such as Florida, Kansas, North Dakota, Indiana, Georgia, Vermont, Washington, Arkansas, and Idaho. 

Virginia, Alaska, Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming also don't have state-wide leash laws. But local governments and municipalities are allowed to enact dog leash laws when the dog becomes a public nuisance. West Virginia is another state that doesn't require dogs to be leashed. However, dog owners are liable for all damages caused by their unleashed dogs.

In Iowa, dogs are permitted to run at large. However, they should be wearing valid rabies vaccination tags—or else they will be impounded. The rest of the states have different leash laws. Most do not allow dogs to run at large—except for 'working' dogs, such as guard dogs, hunting dogs, and farm dogs.

Dogs are considered to be running at large when they are:

  • Not confined in their owner's premises, car, or any fenced-in area
  • Not under restraint or direct control of the owner. 

The penalties for unrestrained dogs caught running at large also vary from state to state. So make sure to learn your state's leash laws before strolling with your pooch. 

Leash laws for cats

Leash laws for cats are not a popular concept. But the fact remains that, just like dog leash laws, it is necessary for their safety. Cats are indeed more agile than dogs. But even they cannot dodge an oncoming vehicle quickly enough when they suddenly jump onto a busy street. 

Did you know that most cats allowed to roam by themselves get injured or even killed by vehicles? They may also get shot or poisoned by cruel neighbors to stop them from using their backyards as a litter box. Some unfortunate ones even get stolen to be used for experiments, while others become bait in dog fights.

Moreover, cats are predatory creatures by nature. So they will instinctively maim, terrorize, and kill native birds and possibly other wildlife. Protecting wildlife and your cat does not mean you have to keep your feline friend cooped up inside your home all day. Most cats quickly become used to wearing a harness while taking a leisurely leashed stroll with their guardian. 

You can also build them a 'catio' (cat patio), so your cat can still enjoy the great outdoors—minus the hazards. At the end of the day, if you truly care about your cat, you should never let them roam by themselves.

Other things to know on bringing your dog or cat to other places

A woman and dog are walking

Aside from a leash, here are some of the things you also need to take with you when you go traveling to other places, such as a vegan restaurant or a hotel, with your dog or cat.

  • Food and water
  • Poop bags
  • Collar
  • Tags
  • Vaccination record
  • Bed and crate
  • Carrier
  • Blankets and seat covers
  • Toys and treats

But, above all things, do not forget to pack a lot of patience. Traveling with a cute and playful pooch or kitty can be fun and exciting. But, let's face it. It can also disrupt their routine. They may start marking their territory, resulting in some accidents. So be sure to be patient with them and yourself. 

The whole process of traveling with your furry friend is not easy. But with treats, toys, and safety measures in place, as well as a good sense of fun, you and your best buddy will surely enjoy a one-of-a-kind adventure.