Running at Large

It’s against the law to allow your dog to run at-large. People are often confused by exactly what the law does – and doesn’t – allow owners to do.

For you and your dog to be lawful, your dog must be restrained by a leash (7 feet long or less) or other physical control device, and under the control of someone physically capable of handling the dog. The exceptions are if your dog is on your own property, or, if on private property, you have permission from the property owner for your dog to be off leash, or you and your dog are in an enclosed area specifically designated as an off-leash area, like a dog park. Dogs are permitted to run inside an approved off-leash park. Here is a map of off-leash parks in and close to Washington County.

We enforce this law seriously. Last year, we responded to about 1200 dog at-large complaints.

We encourage neighbors to settle these problems amicably when possible. Often, you’ll find out that you can resolve the problem without the legal process. For example, your neighbor might not know that the dog is running through the neighborhood while the family is off to work. Explaining the problem to the dog’s owner usually solves the problem. If after speaking with the owner the problem continues, call us. Animal Services will dispatch an officer to discuss the problem with the dog owner. Any dog found running at large may be impounded. If impounded, redemption fees and fines will be charged.