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Dog Bite Statutes Part III—Leash Laws

Dogs and dog bites have long been a concern among insurance personnel. Underwriting has to determine whether or not to write a policy when a dog is in the house, and claims adjusters have to settle claims when a bite has occurred. Each state has statutes dealing with the issues of liability laws, definition of dangerous dog, and leash laws. As there is a volume of information, charts are provided for each section. Other topics can be found at Dog Bite Statutes Part I—Liability Laws and Dog Bite Statutes Part II – Definition of “Dangerous”. The statutes are listed with each section.

Dogs running at large present a number of problems for communities such as bites to humans, attacks on pets and other animals, damage to property, and others. This chart lists the leash laws by state. 



Applicable Statute(s)

Leash Laws


Ala. Code § 3-1-3; 3-6-1; 11-47-110

All cities and towns of Alabama have the power to regulate and prevent dogs running at large on the streets.


AS § 03.55.010 – .070; 11 AAC 12.130

Dogs in state parks must be on a leash and under control by a person at all times.


A.R.S. §§ 11- 1001, 11-1012, 11-1025,11-1026, 11-1027

In rabies quarantine area, each dog should be confined to the owner’s property or on a leash directly under owner’s control while not on owner’s property. No female dog shall be permitted at large during her breeding or mating season.


A.C.A.§ 20-19-102; 20-19-310; 20-19-408

If a government unit or proper officials are convinced that a situation is conducive to the spread of rabies, they may require that all dogs in the locality be muzzled and restrained by a leash.


Cal. Civ. Code § 3342 Ann. Ca. Health & Safety Code 122331 Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code 31602, 30954

No female dog shall be permitted at large during her breeding or mating season.


C.R.S.A. § 13-21-124; 18-9-204.5; 25-4-610

No pet may run at large without being properly inoculated as required by the health department. Such animals may be impounded in accordance with local program policy.


C.G.S.A. § 22-357; 22-364

Dog owner shall not allow dog to roam at large on the land of another or on public highway while not attended to by owner or keeper. This statute does not prohibit the use of hunting dogs during open hunting season.


16 Del.C. § 3048F, 3051F, 3053F, 3076F, 3077F. formerly cited as 9 Del. C. 908, 911, 913, 925, 926

No dog is permitted to run at large at any time unless accompanied by owner and under reasonable control and licensed in accordance with city ordinances, unless owner is an occupant of a farm of more than twenty acres on which they may permit a dog to run at large between October 1 and the last day of the next following February.

District of Columbia

DC ST § 1-303.41; 8-1901; 8-1902; 8-1906; 22-1311

The Mayor of D.C. has the authority to regulate dog leashing. No female dog shall be at large while in heat or the owner will be punished with a fine not exceeding $20.


FL ST § 767.04; 767.14



Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-25 thru 4-8-30; 51-2-7



HRS § 142-75; 143-14; 663-9; 663-9.1

It is unlawful for an owner of a female dog, licensed or unlicensed, to permit it to run at large while the dog is in the copulating season.


I.C. § 18-5812B; 25-2801; 25-2805

Owners with dogs-in-training seeking entrance to common carrier, public transportation, hotel, motel, café, elevator, or other public place must be properly leashed.


510 ILCS5/2.05a; 5/2.17c; 5/2.19b; 5/14; 5/16

In order to prevent the spread of rabies the Department of Agriculture may order that all dogs be kept muzzled and restrained by a leash.


IC 15-20-1-3



I.C.A. § 351.28; 351.40;351.41

If a dog is running at large it may be apprehended by a local board of health or law enforcement official. If a rabies quarantine is declared, dog owners must keep their animals enclosed or on a leash during the quarantine period.


KS ST § 47-645; 47-646; 21-6418



KRS § 258.095; 258.235; 258.255; 258.265; 258.990

Female dogs in heat shall be confined in a manner that they cannot come into contact with a male dog except for a planned breeding. Any peace officer or animal control officer may seize or destroy any dog found running at large between sunset and sunrise and unaccompanied and not under the control of its owner.


LSA-C.C. Art. 2321; LSA-R.S. 3:2731; 3:2652; 3:2771

No person may permit a dog to run at large on any unenclosed land or trespass upon unenclosed or enclosed lands of another. The governing body of the municipality may adopt ordinances regulating dogs running at large.


7 M.R.S.A. § 3901; 3907; 3948; 3952; 3961

It is unlawful for any dog, licensed or unlicensed, to be at large, except when used for hunting. The owner or keeper of any dog found to be at large will be subject to penalties. Municipalities shall control dogs running at large.


MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-619; Md. Code Ann., Local Gov’t § 13-105

Dangerous dogs may not leave an owner’s real property unless leashed and muzzled.


M.G.L.A. 131 § 82; 140 § 155; 140 § 159; 140 § 167; 140 § 174B;

Dog must be leashed when in an officially designated public highway rest area. Owner of a dog must not allow a dog to chase, hunt, or kill a deer. The director may authorize an order to restrain all dogs from running at large where he believes a restraining order is necessary to prevent attacks on deer.


M.C.L.A. 91.1; 287.262; 287.321; 287.351;

Owner must keep dogs properly leashed unless they are engaging in an activity for which they are specially trained, such as leader dogs, guard dogs, farm dogs, hunting dogs, and other such dogs. A city may pass ordinances regulating and preventing dogs from running at large. Owners of dogs over six months old, and of female dogs in heat, may not allow their dogs beyond the premises of the owner unless they are properly leashed.


M.S.A. § 347.14; 347.22; 347.50 thru 347.53

Any person may seize, impound, or restrain an unlicensed dog at large. If no license is attached to the dog’s collar it is presumptive evidence that the dog is unlicensed.


Miss. Code Ann. §21-19-9; 41-53-11

Governing body has authority to prevent or regulate the running at large of animals of all kinds, including by impounding or selling the animal.


V.A.M.S. 79.400; 273.020; 273.030; 273.100

The board of aldermen may tax, regulate, restrain, and prohibit dogs from running at large, provide for destruction when at large, and impose penalties on owners.


MCA 7-23-102; 27-1-715; 81-7-402

A dog running at large without a valid current dog license tag issued by the authority of a county or municipal corporation may be seized and impounded by any law enforcement officer.


Neb.Rev.St. § 17-526; 54-601; 54-607; 54-608; 54-617; 54-618; 54-619; 54-624; NE LEGIS 1055 (2008)

The owner of a dog running at large for ten days without a collar as required will be fined an amount not to exceed $25. In a county with more than 80,000 inhabitants, it is unlawful for a dog owner to let a dog under his control be at large. The municipality may regulate, license, or prohibit dogs running at large.


N.R.S. 202.500; 503.636; 575.020

No owner shall permit a dog to run at large if the dog is actively tracking, pursuing, harassing, attacking, or killing any wildlife in a state-owned wildlife management area.

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. § 466:19; 466.29; 466:31; 466.33

A dog owner is not permitted to let the dog run at large in territory inhabited by game birds, quadrupeds, or on lands where livestock is pastured, at any time of year. If there is a rabies epidemic the mayor and aldermen of a city may order that all dogs must be muzzled or restrained from running at large.

New Jersey

N.J.S.A. 4:19-16; 4:19-22; 4:19-23; 40:48-1

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

New Mexico

N.M.S.A. 1978, § 77-1A-5; 6; 2


New York

N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 108; 121; 122; 123 (McKinney) Envtl. Conserv. Law § 11-0923 (McKinney)

Any municipality may enact a local law about keeping or running large dogs, but municipality may not vary, modify, enlarge, or restrict the provisions of the statutes relating to rabies vaccination and euthanization. No owner or trainer of a dog may allow it to run at large in fields or woods inhabited by deer outside city limits except on lands farmed or cultivated by the owner of the dog. The municipality may require that all dogs in the vicinity must be confined between sunset and one hour after sunrise.

North Carolina

N.C. Gen Stat. Ann. § 67-4.1 thru 67-4.5; 67-12

No person may allow his dog over six months old to run at large in the nighttime unaccompanied. Any person intentionally, knowingly, and willfully violating this section is guilty of a third degree misdemeanor and is also liable for damages to person or property.

North Dakota

NDCC 40-05-01; 42-03-01; 42-01-08



R.C. § 955.22; 995.221; 995.26; 955.28

Ordinances may include the restraint of dogs but must not prohibit the use of a dog that is lawfully hunting or training to hunt while accompanied by a licensed hunter. If rabies is prevalent, the director of health can declare a quarantine, during which the owner or keeper of a dog must keep it confined on the premises. The dog may leave the premises if it is leashed or under control of a reasonable person. No owner of a female dog may permit it beyond the premises of the owner or harborer at any time the dog is in heat unless the dog is properly leashed.


4 Okl.St.Ann. § 42.1; 43 thru 46

Board of county commissioners of any county with a population of 200,000 or more may regulate or prohibit dogs running at large and cause dogs in violation to be impounded and disposed of. No person may enter a state park with a dog unless that dog is on a leash.


O.R.S. § 609.035; 609.060; 609.095; 609.098; 609.140; 609.990

A female dog in heat and running at large is a nuisance. If the governing body of a county by ordinance prohibits dogs from running at large the county must give notice by publication in a newspaper having general circulation in the county. After sixty days from notice date, each person keeping a dog must prevent them from running at large in any county where prohibited. The owner is guilty of a Class B violation if the dog runs at large where prohibited.


3 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 459-301; 459-304; 459-305; 459-502-A; 459-503-A; 7 Pa. Code § 27.12

Owner of a female dog in heat must not permit such dog to go beyond the premises of the owner unless properly leashed. Any police officer may humanely kill any dog running at large in a rabies quarantined area without any liability for damages. Municipalities have the power to regulate dogs running at large. No owner or dog may fail to keep the dog confined within the premises of the owner, secured by collar or chain, or under the reasonable control of a person, or when hunting participating in performance events, or field training.

Rhode Island

4 R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 4-13-15.1; 4-13.1-2; 1-4; 1-7;

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

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 47-3-50; 47-3-110; 47-3-710; 47-3-720; 51-3-145

It is unlawful for a dog owner to allow his dog to run at large off of property owned or controlled by him. It is also unlawful for a person at a park or facility under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks and Recreation and Tourism to bring a dog into the park unless it is crated, caged, or leashed.

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws §40-34-2; 40-34-14; 40-34-15

Board of county commissioners has the power to regulate, restrain, or prohibit dogs running at large. If a person owns more than five dogs and fails to keep those dogs within the confines of his own property, such failure amounts to a public nuisance. Any person who permits a dog to run at large in a state park is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.


T.C.A. § 44-8-413

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


Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 822.007; 822.012; 822.031; 822.041; 822.042; 822.047

A municipality may adopt leash or registration requirements applicable to dogs. A dog owner has a duty to keep that dog under reasonable control at all times and to keep that dog from running at large. The person having control of a dog at least six months of age may not allow the dog to run at large unless the dog is registered and is wearing an identification tag.


U.C.A. § 18-1-1; 26-6-11

Any dog not muzzled found running at large in a quarantined area or known to have been removed from or escaped from such area, may be killed by any person without liability therefor.


20 V.S.A. 3546;3549



2VAC 5-620-70; 20; 10; Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6540; 3.2-6540.1; 3.2-6542; 3.2-6522; 3.2-6539

The governing body of any locality may adopt ordinances requiring that dogs within the locality be kept on a leash. They also have the power and authority to pass ordinances restricting the running at large in their jurisdiction of dogs that have not been inoculated of vaccinated against rabies and to provide penalties for any violation.


R.C.W.A 16.08.030; 16.08.040; 16.08.060; 16.08.070; 16.08.080; 35.27.370

The town council has the power to prohibit dogs running at large and may provide for the killing of all dogs found at large and not duly licensed. The sheriff or deputy sheriff has the duty of killing the dogs found running at large, without a metal identification tag, after the first day of August and before the first day of March the following year

West Virginia

W. Va. Code, § 5A-4-4; 19-9-18; 19-20-13; 19-20-14; 19-20-21; 19-20A-8;

Dogs vaccinated in compliance with this article may run at large in any area or locality. The commissioner of agriculture may establish a quarantine area to require all dogs within that area to be confined as in article 9. If a quarantine is established, no owner should let a dog run at large. Any dog on the grounds of the capitol buildings or governor’s mansion shall be leashed.


W.S.A. 174.02; 174.042

A dog is considered to be at large if it is off the premises and not in control of its owner. A dog that is engaged in legal hunting activity is not considered to be at large. A dog running at large or untagged is subject to impoundment. An officer may attempt to capture and restrain any dog at large.


W.S. 1977 § 11-31-105; 11-31-301

A board of county commissioners may declare the running at large of any specified animals in unincorporated areas within the county limits a public nuisance.

 April 2017, June 2021.

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