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Does California Have a Statewide 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.

Watch YouTube Video: Dog Leash Laws. The following video discusses California dog leash laws.

Sacramento Dog Bite Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Dog Bite Lawyer. 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. Please contact my office for free friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or 800-404-5400. I can also be reached online at

I have been handling animal and dog bite cases in Sacramento and throughout California since 1982.

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