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Leash Laws Are Not Just a Suggestion

DeKalb County has a very specific leash law. Unfortunately, too many dog owners ignore the leash law, which can lead to dog fights, bites or injuries.

In 1998, I was hiking with my dog in the North Carolina mountains. We were about 2 miles up the mountain, and I saw two dogs, a golden retriever and a yellow lab, running toward us on the trail. I stepped to the side, off the trail, because my dog (who weighed about 25-30 pounds) was sometimes intimidated by larger dogs.

As the dogs came closer to me, I didn't see a person accompanying them. When they reached us, they began to attack my dog, and I quickly picked her up. After what seemed like forever (but was in reality, probably only 3-4 minutes), the owners appeared and pulled their dogs away. By then, I had multiple bite wounds on my legs. Luckily, my dog escaped with only minor scratches, but I was literally a bloody mess. The owners, with leashes in their hands, exclaimed "they have never done this before." I spent the next year in and out of doctor's offices, trying to heal from the resulting infections, and still have scars today.

Two weeks ago, a member of our AARF family was walking her dogs and was similarly attacked. She was in a public park and her dogs were on a leash. Two dogs emerged from a wooded area, again, with no person attached. While she escaped with stitches in both hands, her dogs bore the brunt of the attack. One dog is now afraid to go outside and the other can't use one of his legs, likely from nerve damage. The owner arrived at the scene with leashes in his pocket.

Leash laws are not just a suggestion! 

No matter how well-trained you think your dog is, your commands are sometimes no match for a squirrel, cat, or other dog. Walking a dog off of a leash is careless and lazy dog ownership at best, and dangerous in many situations.

Dogs who bite can be impounded and euthanized, even if the dog doesn't have a history of aggression. Could you live with the consequences for your dog if something happened while he was running off-leash?

Dog bites are also expensive. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of a dog bite claim in 2010 was just over $26,000. You could build a phenomenal fenced yard for a fraction of the cost!

Leash laws are common throughout the metro Atlanta area. DeKalb County's leash law is very clear, and applies to both dogs AND cats! If you see someone with an off-leash dog, report him or her. It only takes one time for a dog to react when off-leash to cause a death or injury. 

Protect your dog, other dogs and people--keep your dog on a leash!

DeKalb County, Georgia - Code of Ordinances

Sec. 5-4. - Duty to restrain while off owner's property. It shall be the duty of any person to keep an animal under restraint and control at all times while the animal is off the real property limits of the owner. Such areas shall not include county parks that are specifically designated as off leash areas. (Ord. No. 04-15, Pt. I, 12-14-04)

Sec. 5-5. - Animals at large. It shall be unlawful for the owner of an animal to allow it to run at large unattended on or about the streets, right of ways, and highways of unincorporated DeKalb County; in any DeKalb County park, except in county parks that are specifically designated as off leash areas; unattended on or about the common property of any apartment complex or condominium community; or on the property of another person without permission of the owner of that property. This section shall not apply to dogs being used for hunting in accordance with state law, rules and regulations.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Leslie Johnson February 23, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Excellent points, Susan. It really bugs me when dogs are off-leash, come running up to me and the owner says, "Oh, don't worry, he won't bite" or the owner tries to get the dog to come back to him, in vain. I've also seen owners with their dogs off-leash at a public park filled with children.
Jodie Meyers June 25, 2013 at 02:41 PM
I live in Gwinnett and wish we had a lease law for cats and dogs! I am a bird lover who would like to see the end of outdoor cats. Anybody who says my cat would never kill a bird is an idiot! I completely agree with you that dogs should always be on their lease too!
Kevin Polite July 27, 2013 at 03:47 PM
The law clearly indicates that a dog may be off lease on the owner's premise. I have more of a problem with owners WITH their dog on a lease and it's barking, snarling with teeth bared because the owner hasn't socialized the dogs. They to me or more of a threat then a dog off lease because someone that let's the dog off lease know it's a sweet lovable dog. Sure it's the law, but it's stupid law.
Oommma June 26, 2014 at 08:37 AM
I walk the trails at Stone Mountain Park several times a week. About 50% of the dog owners on the trail allow their dogs to be off leash. A few are apologetic when reminded that their dogs are required by law to remain restrained. As a fellow dog owner of two dogs I find it incomprehensible why people feel that they and their dogs are not required to obey the law and that other people do not have the right to safely enjoy the trails. I was bitten by someone's sweet lovable dog that was roaming free in the park. Stupid is not recognizing that dogs can be unpredictable.
Kevin Polite June 26, 2014 at 10:49 AM
Oommma. I wasn't advocating taking your dog off the lease at a public park such as Stone Mountain. If you read all the research most dog bites are due to the owner not properly training their dog and over half occur when they get off the lease while walking. I think the law should be that every pet owner should be required to go through obedience training like in Germany. There aren't any lease laws there and the number of bites from dogs is amazingly low. I liken the lease law to the drug laws we have now that don't reduce drug use.

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