Does California Have a Statewide Dog Leash Law?

California Dog Leash Law?

California Dog Leash Law

Unfortunately, no.  While California does not have a statewide dog leash law, it does allow local governments (counties, cities, and towns) to pass their own leash law ordinances. For example, in Sacramento County, with few exceptions, a dog is not allowed to run “at-large.”   Outside of designated “off-leash” dog parks, if a dog owner brings his or her dog to any county park in Sacramento County and lets the dog run loose, he or she could get a citation for violating Code 9.36.061 (d),which requires dogs to be safely under control of it’s owner and on a leash at all times.  The City of Sacramento also has a dog leash law that requires dogs to be leashed and under control of its owner.

Benefits of Keeping a Dog on a Leash

1.  It’s the law – pet owners must keep their dogs on a leash that is six feet or less in length.

2. Safety of your dog – a dog can become trapped, injured or bitten by bees or a snake and even become exposed to poison ivy or ticks.  Also, a loose dog could get hit by a car.

3. Safety of people – some people are afraid of dangerous dogs.  Even friendly dogs that are loose can scare a person or knock someone down, especially a small child.   Additionally, an off-leash dog can cause a car accident.

4. Decrease fights with other dogs – an off-leash dog could come across as a threat to a leashed dog or wander up to an unfriendly leashed dog causing a fight.

California does not have a statewide dog leash law. However, ordinances in your neighborhood exist through the county or city for these reasons.

Sacramento Dog Bite Lawyers

In California, if you or a loved one have been attacked or bitten by a dog, the owner is held liable for your injuries and damages. The attorneys at the Edward A Smith Law Offices have been handling animal and dog bite cases in Sacramento and throughout California for over 30 years.  Please contact my office for free friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or 800-404-5400. I can also be reached online at

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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 8.22.18]