Leashes and Tags


Dog owners must provide leashes and tags for their dogs. Some leash laws even limit how long the leash can be.


The municipal codes of various cities require owners to keep their dogs on a leash. For example, the Los Angeles Municipal Code states:

Sec. 53.06. No person owning or having possession, charge, custody or control of any animal, except cats which are not in heat or season, shall cause, permit or allow the animal to stray, run, or in any manner to be at large in or upon any public street, sidewalk or park, except as otherwise expressly provided in section 63.44 of this Code, or in the bed of the Los Angeles River or upon any unenclosed lot or land.

Sec. 53.06.02. (a) Every person owning or having charge, care, custody or control of any dog shall keep such dog exclusively upon his own premises provided, however, that such dog may be off such premises if it be under the control of a competent person and restrained by a substantial chain or leash not exceeding six feet in length, or under the control of a competent person on a dog exercise of training area established pursuant to section 633.44 of this Code.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, every violation of any of the provisions of this section shall be punishable as an infraction as follows:

  1. Upon a first conviction, by a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25).
  2. Upon a second conviction, and the offense occurred within one year of a prior violation of this section which resulted in a conviction, by a fine of forty-five dollars ($45)
  3. Upon a third or subsequent conviction, and the offense occurred within one year of a prior violation of this section which resulted in a second or subsequent conviction, by a fine of sixty-five dollars ($65)

The Beverly Hills Municipal Code is similar:

Sec. 5-2.202. Dogs running at large.
It shall be unlawful for any person owning, controlling, or having in their care or custody any dog, whether licensed or unlicensed, to permit such dog to be upon any public street, alley, or public place or upon any unenclosed land or property unless such dog is upon a leash, not exceeding six (6′) feet in length, and in the hands of a person capable of controlling such dog. (5-1.204 Amd.)

The defense in one case was that the dog was running loose without the knowledge of the dog owner. The issue presented to the court was whether the knowledge of the owner was essential. It held that the city’s prohibition against dogs running at large, or running loose, was effective even though the dog owner did not know the dog’s whereabouts. Here is a summary of that case:

In Egenreither v. Carter, a Missouri appellate court held that a plaintiff in a dog bite case need not show that the dog’s owner knew about or affirmatively consented to the dog’s running loose to make out a case of negligence per se for violation of a leash law. Here, Egenreither was walking through an alley behind Carter’s home. She saw Carter’s son come out of the backyard into the alley through a gate in a chain-link fence. Shortly thereafter, Carter’s dog came through the gate and bit Egenreither’s arm. Egenreither sued Carter for negligence, citing a municipal ordinance forbidding dog owners to “permit such dog to be found at large on the streets” without a leash. The judge instructed the jury at trial that it must find for defendant if it believed that the dog was at large on the streets but that defendant was not thereby negligent. The jury found for defendant, but the trial court granted plaintiff’s motion for a new trial.


Dog tags

Dogs are usually required to keep identification, much like people. The California Food and Agriculture Code states:

30951. It is unlawful for any person to own, harbor, or keep any dog over the age of four months, or to permit such a dog which is owned, harbored, or controlled by him to run at large, unless the dog has attached to its neck or leg a substantial collar on which one of the following is fastened:

(a) A metallic tag which gives the name and post office address of the owner.

(b) A metal license tag which is issued by the authority of a county, city and county, or any municipal corporation for the purpose of identifying the dog and designating the owner It is against the law to put a tag on a dog if the tag belongs to a different dog:

30952. It is unlawful for any person to attach a license tag to the collar of any dog except the dog which is described in the application for such license tag