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10 good reasons to leash your dog

When the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, complaints for off-leash dog at parks and schools increase. Animal Control Officers and Police officers are on the lookout for leash law violators (and their owners.) So here are 10 reasons you should keep Fido on that leash. You will be a responsible dog owner, your neighbors will love you, and maybe most importantly, you'll avoid tickets!

1.  Be a good neighbor.

Not everyone likes dogs.  Some cultures perceive dogs in ways that may differ from your own so even a friendly dog running up to them is very distressing.  Someone truly afraid may act out of fear and injure your dog.  Property owners can be particular about dogs on their lawns.  A dog on a leash shows that you are in control of your dog and that you respect those who wish to keep their distance from your dog.  It is good neighbor policy to keep your pet on leash and from becoming a nuisance to others around you.

2. People can be injured by loose dogs.

Whether intentional or not your dog could bite, knock over, or injure someone.  Legal action could arise, and a dog could be deemed dangerous if;

  • A dog has bitten or attacked.
  • The dog has behaved in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals.
  • An owner did not exercise reasonable precautions to prevent a dog from biting or attacking or posing a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals.

The law could judge that your dog be euthanized, even if your dog was provoked to bite. Keeping your dog leashed helps you control them and mitigates the circumstances, showing the owner is “exercising reasonable precautions”.

3. Loose dogs get into more fights with dogs and other animals.

An off-leash dog could wander into another animal’s territory provoking a fight.  Leashed dogs could perceive an unleashed dog as a threat (either to the owner or to his personal space in the leash zone) and is likely to lunge or snap.

4. Wildlife has a place too.

Your best friend can become nature’s enemy if taken off a leash and allowed to run free.  Dogs that leave trails destroy the homes of ground-nesting birds, stress small mammals, destroy plants, leave feces that disrupts the natural balance of the ecosystem, and they are susceptible to the rabies virus through wildlife they may encounter.

5. Leashed dogs are rarely hit by cars.

No dog responds 100% of the time to commands.  A leash can help you pull your dog to safety when a driver is too close.  On the other hand, unleashed dogs can cause car accidents when drivers try to avoid hitting a loose dog.

6. Lowers costly veterinary bills.

Leashing your dog is the best way to keep your dog from becoming sick or injured on your walks.  Dogs are known to eat many things they shouldn’t and roaming dogs could drink contaminated water, tread through pesticides, be exposed to ticks, poison oak, or plants that have thorns and burrs.

7. Unleashed dogs poop at will.

This will make you very unpopular with your neighbors.  Owners that do not scoop will incur a fine.  Dog that are not dewormed completely leave, parasitic worm eggs can be transmitted from feces to humans causing blindness (particularly with small children).

8. It is a good birth control device.

If your dog has not been spayed or neutered it is probably because you are hoping to breed your pet.  Leashing is one of the best ways to preventing random mating and unwanted puppies.

9. Loose dogs give dog owners a bad name.

Every dog allowed off leash is another piece of evidence for those citizens who prefer that dogs be banned from all public places.  Discourteous dog owners are causing dogs owners to lose the ability to take their dogs to places they formerly could take them. Go out of your way to be courteous when handling a dog. Demonstrate that dog owners can be good neighbors.  If people have a right to expect that dogs they encounter in that location will be on leash, stick to the rules. Otherwise the next rule change may be “No Dogs Allowed.”

10. It is the law! Plain and simple. Know the laws that affect you as a dog owner.


A dog must be on a leash no greater than 6 feet in length when on a public thoroughfare, trail, or park.  The fine for failure to do so is $100 in Palo Alto. Dogs must be under an abled bodied person’s control at all times.

Running at large

Dogs “running at large” (not on the premises of the owner and not under the control of any person) can be impounded by an animal control officer.  Fees include:

  • Impound fee is $35-$200 plus $20 per day boarding.
  • A fine of $60 plus a $20 victim surcharge.
  • Proof of licensing is required, or subject to a $100 fine plus the cost of a license.

A dog not claimed after 7 days become property of the city and can be adopted, or euthanized.


Anyone controlling an animal is responsible for the removal and sanitary disposition of any excrement of the animal. If a violation is witnessed by and Animal Control Officer, a citation can be issued.

Leash-free areas

In Palo Alto dogs may run off-leash in designated areas at Mitchell Park, Hoover Park, and Greer Park. Dog parks exist in other cities as well.

Guelph Humane Society Inc. – “Over a Century of Caring”

Last Updated April 15, 2016