Leash Laws Are Sometimes Vague

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I’m writing in reference to your recent column about training a “cool city pooch.” You’re forgetting that many cities have laws about tying up your dog to lampposts. Unless that “cool pooch’s” owner wants to pay a fine, he’d better forget about doing that.
– S.Y., via e-mail
DEAR S.Y.: That’s a good point: Pet owners should check city ordinances ahead of time before taking their pets out on a stroll. Are pets completely not allowed inside businesses by city law, rather than at the business owner’s discretion? Can you tie their leash to a lamppost, bike stand or outdoor table? Can a dog be unaccompanied or off leash at any time?
As a counterpoint, many cities’ leash laws are sometimes a bit vague on this point. Almost all require that owners keep their dogs under control at all times, and on a leash everywhere except in designated off-leash areas. Municipal buildings and schools are usually off-limits to non-service dogs, period.
Some cities, and an increasing number of businesses, are making more allowances for dogs. For example, some grocery stores and a few department stores in my area, like Home Depot, allow small dogs inside as long as they stay on a leash beside their owner and are well-behaved. However, it is up to the pet owner to learn what the rules are in the businesses he or she wants to frequent.
The most important point, beyond what’s written in leash laws or by businesses, is that pet owners be good citizens, and make sure their dog is safe and under their control when out and about.
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