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Dogs and dog bites have long been a concern among insurance personnel. Underwriting has to determine whether or not to write a policy when a dog is in the house, and claims adjusters have to settle claims when a bite has occurred. Each state has statutes dealing with the issues of liability laws, definition of dangerous dog, and leash laws. As there is a volume of information, charts are provided for each section. Other topics can be found at Dog Bite Statutes Part I—Liability Laws and Dog Bite Statutes Part II – Definition of “Dangerous”. The statutes are listed with each section. 


Applicable Statute(s)

Leash Laws


Ala. Code § 3-1-3; 3-6-1; 11-47-110

All cities and towns of Alabama have the power to regulate   and prevent dogs running at large on the streets.


AS § 03.55.010 – .070; 11 AAC 12.130

Dogs in state parks must be on a leash and under control   by a person at all times.


A.R.S. §§ 11- 1001, 11-1012, 11-1025,11-1026,   11-1027

In rabies quarantine area, each dog should be confined to   the owner’s property or on a leash directly under owner’s control while not   on owner’s property. No female dog shall be permitted at large during her   breeding or mating season.


A.C.A.§ 20-19-102; 20-19-310; 20-19-408

If a government unit or proper officials are convinced   that a situation is conducive to the spread of rabies, they may require that   all dogs in the locality be muzzled and restrained by a leash.


Cal. Civ. Code § 3342   Ann. Ca. Health & Safety Code 122331   Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code 31602, 30954

No female dog shall be permitted at large during her   breeding or mating season.


C.R.S.A. § 13-21-124;   18-9-204.5; 25-4-610

No pet may run at large without being properly inoculated   as required by the health department. Such animals may be impounded in   accordance with local program policy.


C.G.S.A. § 22-357; 22-364

Dog owner shall not allow dog to roam at large on the land   of another or on public highway while not attended to by owner or keeper.   This statute does not prohibit the use of hunting dogs during open hunting   season.


16 Del.C. § 3048F, 3051F, 3053F, 3076F, 3077F.   formerly cited as 9 Del. C. 908, 911, 913, 925, 926

No dog is permitted to run at large at any time unless   accompanied by owner and under reasonable control and licensed in accordance   with city ordinances, unless owner is an occupant of a farm of more than twenty   acres on which they may permit a dog to run at large between October 1 and   the last day of the next following February.

District of Columbia

DC ST § 1-303.41; 8-1901; 8-1902; 8-1906; 22-1311

The Mayor of D.C. has the authority to regulate dog   leashing. No female dog shall be at large while in heat or the owner will be   punished with a fine not exceeding $20.


FL ST § 767.04; 767.14


Ga. Code Ann., § 4-8-25 thru 4-8-30; 51-2-7


HRS § 142-75; 143-14; 663-9; 663-9.1

It is unlawful for an owner of a female dog, licensed or   unlicensed, to permit it to run at large while the dog is in the copulating   season.


I.C. § 18-5812B; 25-2801; 25-2805

Owners with dogs-in-training seeking entrance to common   carrier, public transportation, hotel, motel, café, elevator, or other public   place must be properly leashed.


510 ILCS5/2.05a;    5/2.17c; 5/2.19b;  5/14; 5/16

In order to prevent the spread of rabies the Department of   Agriculture may order that all dogs be kept muzzled and restrained by a   leash.


IC 15-20-1-3


I.C.A. § 351.28; 351.40;351.41

If a dog is running at large it may be apprehended by a   local board of health or law enforcement official. If a rabies quarantine is   declared, dog owners must keep their animals enclosed or on a leash during   the quarantine period.


KS ST § 47-645; 47-646; 21-6418


KRS § 258.095; 258.235; 258.255; 258.265; 258.990

Female dogs in heat shall be confined in a manner that they   cannot come into contact with a male dog except for a planned breeding. Any   peace officer or animal control officer may seize or destroy any dog found   running at large between sunset and sunrise and unaccompanied and not under   the control of its owner.


LSA-C.C. Art. 2321; LSA-R.S. 3:2731; 3:2652;   3:2771

No person may permit a dog to run at large on any   unenclosed land or trespass upon unenclosed or enclosed lands of another. The   governing body of the municipality may adopt ordinances regulating dogs   running at large.


7 M.R.S.A. § 3901; 3907; 3948; 3952; 3961

It is unlawful for any dog, licensed or unlicensed, to be   at large, except when used for hunting. The owner or keeper of any dog found   to be at large will be subject to penalties. Municipalities shall control   dogs running at large.


MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-619; Md. Code Ann.,   Local Gov’t § 13-105

Dangerous dogs may not leave an owner’s real property   unless leashed and muzzled.


M.G.L.A. 131 § 82; 140 § 155; 140 § 159; 140 §   167; 140 § 174B;

Dog must be leashed when in an officially designated   public highway rest area. Owner of a dog must not allow a dog to chase, hunt,   or kill a deer. The director may authorize an order to restrain all dogs from   running at large where he believes a restraining order is necessary to   prevent attacks on deer.


M.C.L.A. 91.1; 287.262; 287.321; 287.351;

Owner must keep dogs properly leashed unless they are   engaging in an activity for which they are specially trained, such as leader   dogs, guard dogs, farm dogs, hunting dogs, and other such dogs. A city may   pass ordinances regulating and preventing dogs from running at large. Owners   of dogs over six months old, and of female dogs in heat, may not allow their   dogs beyond the premises of the owner unless they are properly leashed.


M.S.A. § 347.14; 347.22; 347.50 thru 347.53

Any person may seize, impound, or restrain an unlicensed   dog at large. If no license is attached to the dog’s collar it is presumptive   evidence that the dog is unlicensed. 


Miss. Code Ann. §21-19-9; 41-53-11

Governing body has authority to prevent or regulate the   running at large of animals of all kinds, including by impounding or selling   the animal.


V.A.M.S. 79.400; 273.020; 273.030; 273.100

The board of aldermen may tax, regulate, restrain, and   prohibit dogs from running at large, provide for destruction when at large,   and impose penalties on owners.


MCA 7-23-102; 27-1-715; 81-7-402

A dog running at large without a valid current dog license   tag issued by the authority of a county or municipal corporation may be   seized and impounded by any law enforcement officer.


Neb.Rev.St. § 17-526; 54-601; 54-607; 54-608;   54-617; 54-618; 54-619; 54-624; NE LEGIS 1055 (2008)

The owner of a dog running at large for ten days without a   collar as required will be fined an amount not to exceed $25. In a county   with more than 80,000 inhabitants, it is unlawful for a dog owner to let a   dog under his control be at large. The municipality may regulate, license, or   prohibit dogs running at large.


N.R.S. 202.500; 503.636; 575.020

No owner shall permit a dog to run at large if the dog is   actively tracking, pursuing, harassing, attacking, or killing any wildlife in   a state-owned wildlife management area.

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. § 466:19; 466.29; 466:31; 466.33

A dog owner is not permitted to let the dog run at large   in territory inhabited by game birds, quadrupeds, or on lands where livestock   is pastured, at any time of year. If there is a rabies epidemic the mayor and   aldermen of a city may order that all dogs must be muzzled or restrained from   running at large.

New Jersey

N.J.S.A. 4:19-16; 4:19-22; 4:19-23; 40:48-1

The governing body of every municipality may make, amend,   repeal, and enforce ordinances to prohibit or regulate dogs running at large.  

New Mexico

N.M.S.A. 1978, § 77-1A-5; 6; 2

New York

N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 108; 121; 122;   123  (McKinney) Envtl. Conserv. Law §   11-0923 (McKinney)

Any municipality may enact a local law about keeping or   running large dogs, but municipality may not vary, modify, enlarge, or   restrict the provisions of the statutes relating to rabies vaccination and   euthanization. No owner or trainer of a dog may allow it to run at large in   fields or woods inhabited by deer outside city limits except on lands farmed   or cultivated by the owner of the dog. The municipality may require that all   dogs in the vicinity must be confined between sunset and one hour after   sunrise.

North Carolina

N.C. Gen Stat. Ann. § 67-4.1 thru 67-4.5; 67-12

No person may allow his dog over six months old to run at   large in the nighttime unaccompanied. Any person intentionally, knowingly,   and willfully violating this section is guilty of a third degree misdemeanor   and is also liable for damages to person or property.

North Dakota

NDCC 40-05-01; 42-03-01; 42-01-08


R.C. § 955.22; 995.221; 995.26; 955.28

Ordinances may include the restraint of dogs but must not   prohibit the use of a dog that is lawfully hunting or training to hunt while   accompanied by a licensed hunter. If rabies is prevalent, the director of   health can declare a quarantine, during which the owner or keeper of a dog must   keep it confined on the premises. The dog may leave the premises if it is   leashed or under control of a reasonable person. No owner of a female dog may   permit it beyond the premises of the owner or harborer at any time the dog is   in heat unless the dog is properly leashed.


4 Okl.St.Ann. § 42.1; 43 thru 46

Board of county commissioners of any county with a   population of 200,000 or more may regulate or prohibit dogs running at large   and cause dogs in violation to be impounded and disposed of. No person may   enter a state park with a dog unless that dog is on a leash.


O.R.S. § 609.035; 609.060; 609.095;   609.098; 609.140; 609.990

A female dog in heat and running at large is a nuisance.   If the governing body of a county by ordinance prohibits dogs from running at   large the county must give notice by publication in a newspaper having   general circulation in the county. After sixty days from notice date, each   person keeping a dog must prevent them from running at large in any county   where prohibited. The owner is guilty of a Class B violation if the dog runs   at large where prohibited. 


3 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 459-301; 459-304; 459-305;   459-502-A; 459-503-A; 7 Pa. Code § 27.12

Owner of a female dog in heat must not permit such dog to   go beyond the premises of the owner unless properly leashed. Any police   officer may humanely kill any dog running at large in a rabies quarantined   area without any liability for damages. Municipalities have the power to   regulate dogs running at large. No owner or dog may fail to keep the dog   confined within the premises of the owner, secured by collar or chain, or under   the reasonable control of a person, or when hunting participating in   performance events, or field training.

Rhode Island

4 R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 4-13-15.1;   4-13.1-2; 1-4; 1-7; 

City or town councils may make any ordinances concerning   dogs in their cities or towns pertaining to the conduct of dogs, which   include regulations relating to unrestricted dogs, leash laws, confinement,   and destruction of vicious dogs.

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 47-3-50; 47-3-110;   47-3-710; 47-3-720; 51-3-145

It is unlawful for a dog owner to allow his dog to run at   large off of property owned or controlled by him. It is also unlawful for a   person at a park or facility under the jurisdiction of the Department of   Parks and Recreation and Tourism to bring a dog into the park unless it is   crated, caged, or leashed.

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws §40-34-2;   40-34-14;  40-34-15

Board of county commissioners has the power to regulate,   restrain, or prohibit dogs running at large. If a person owns more than five   dogs and fails to keep those dogs within the confines of his own property,   such failure amounts to a public nuisance. Any person who permits a dog to   run at large in a state park is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.


T.C.A. § 44-8-413

A dog owner has a duty to keep that dog under reasonable   control at all times and to keep that dog from running at large.


Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. §   822.007; 822.012; 822.031; 822.041; 822.042; 822.047

A municipality may adopt leash or registration   requirements applicable to dogs. A dog owner has a duty to keep that dog   under reasonable control at all times and to keep that dog from running at   large. The person having control of a dog at least six months of age may not   allow the dog to run at large unless the dog is registered and is wearing an   identification tag.


U.C.A. § 18-1-1; 26-6-11

Any dog not muzzled found running at large in a   quarantined area or known to have been removed from or escaped from such   area, may be killed by any person without liability therefor.


20 V.S.A. 3546;3549


2VAC 5-620-70; 20; 10;    Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6540; 3.2-6540.1;   3.2-6542; 3.2-6522; 3.2-6539

The governing body of any locality may adopt ordinances   requiring that dogs within the locality be kept on a leash. They also have   the power and authority to pass ordinances restricting the running at large   in their jurisdiction of dogs that have not been inoculated of vaccinated   against rabies and to provide penalties for any violation.


R.C.W.A 16.08.030; 16.08.040;   16.08.060; 16.08.070; 16.08.080; 35.27.370

The town counsel has the power to prohibit dogs running at   large and may provide for the killing of all dogs found at large and not duly   licensed. The sheriff or deputy sheriff has the duty of killing the dogs   found running at large, without a metal identification tag, after the first   day of August and before the first day of March the following year

West Virginia

W. Va. Code, § 5A-4-4; 19-9-18;   19-20-13; 19-20-14; 19-20-21; 19-20A-8;

Dogs vaccinated in compliance with this article may run at   large in any area or locality. The commissioner of agriculture may establish   a quarantine area to require all dogs within that area to be confined as in   article 9. If a quarantine is established, no owner should let a dog run at   large. Any dog on the grounds of the capitol buildings or governor’s mansion   shall be leashed.


W.S.A. 174.02; 174.042

A dog is considered to be at large if it is off the   premises and not in control of its owner. A dog that is engaged in legal   hunting activity is not considered to be at large. A dog running at large or   untagged is subject to impoundment. An officer may attempt to capture and   restrain any dog at large.


W.S. 1977 § 11-31-105; 11-31-301

A board of county commissioners may declare the running at   large of any specified animals in unincorporated areas within the county   limits a public nuisance.

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