Reasons why you should keep your dog on a leash include:
- It keeps your dog safe. Many other animals are out there: other dogs, cats, and wildlife. These animals could injure your dog. An encounter with a raccoon or a fox will mean a mandatory quarantine of your dog because of the threat of rabies. No dog is 100% reliable when encountering a squirrel or other wildlife dashing across a street: they could chase an animal into the street and be hit by a car.
- It keeps other dogs safe. A leashed dog may react aggressively if your unleashed dog comes approaches him. Or, your dog might see a small dog as prey and attack it. Dog attacks on other dogs are sadly quite common in Arlington.
- It is considerate to people who are afraid of dogs. Many people want to enjoy walks on Arlington’s sidewalks, parks, and school grounds without your dog bothering or frightening them. Some people, especially children, are frightened of dogs, even friendly ones. An average of 200 dog bites to humans happen each year in Arlington.
- It protects the environment and human health. If your dog is running off-leash, defecates, and you don’t see it to pick it up, then it is left for people and other dogs to step in and it eventually runs off into our streams.
- It’s the law. When off their owner’s property, all dogs in Arlington must be leashed and under control of the owner or another responsible person. Electronic training collars do not meet the requirement of being leashed. The only exception to the leash law is if a dog is in a County dog park. Violations are punishable by Arlington County code 2-6 stating that dogs must be leashed, even when owners are present or code 2-5 for dogs running at large. Repeat offenses in either category can lead to elevated fines and charges.
Looking for a place where your dog can play off-leash? Visit a County dog park. Dogs are allowed to play off-leash inside County dog parks. There are eight dog parks located across the County. A full list is available at: https://parks.arlingtonva.us/parksfacilities/dog-parks/