(Image via Mr. T in DC, courtesy of Flickr)
Yesterday I clicked on an innocuous looking Facebook link, to this article about the reasons you should keep your dog on leash. And then I scrolled down to read the comments, which are a train wreck of political news story proportions.
One of the commenters, defending her right to have her dog off leash whenever she wanted, pointed out that most city leash laws specify a maximum leash-length of six feet. (This was an attempt to take down the blog author for using a long line.)
I have complex feelings about leashes and leash laws, which isn’t the point here. Instead, this sent me off to check my city leash ordinances. I haven’t bothered to check because I have, honestly, never seen anyone ticket even an off-leash dog here. I *really* doubt they would ticket me for my long line, which I only use under the narrowest of circumstances. What I found is actually pretty ambiguous:
My animal, of any kind, can’t be “at large” unless he is in a designated area or on private property and prevented access to the street. “At large” means that the animal is not in my “direct physical control.” I would assume that direct physical control means a leash. There is no mention of verbal control, which is what the local off-leash areas add. Since the code is written to apply equally to, say, my donkey, it doesn’t specify a leash length. Is a poorly-wielded retractable leash physical control? A ten foot leash? A 50 foot leash? Rational brain says that this is contingent on the situation, and that as long as my leash is short enough to keep my dog from bothering people in that particular context that it’s fine. I do wonder if animal control has a favored interpretation.
We do have, however, some gems. Remember, I live in a substantial city:
–It is illegal to drive livestock down city streets without permission. (Drive a la John Wayne, not drive in a truck)
–It is illegal to race a horse down city streets, or to use your livestock to pull an inadequately greased wagon.
–It is illegal to “hitch or stake out” your animals in such a way that they can block the sidewalk.
–It is illegal, when transporting the manure away from your stables, to let said manure fall out of the truck and into the street.
My favorite: you can get a waiver for any of the already pretty loose chicken laws if you can provide animal control with a note from your doctor saying that fresh eggs are necessary for your health. I seriously wonder when someone used that last.
You can check your local ordinances via Municode.