Dogs in Parks & Other Public Spaces

Keeping people and their pets safe is important to us!

When you are enjoying our parks and other public spaces, be a good neighbor and avoid a citation by doing the following:

  • Keep your dog on a leash (no longer than 7')
  • Clean up after your pet
  • Keep your dog's license current with Washington County Animal Services

If found in violation of any of the leash, license or dog waste codes, you could receive a ticket with a maximum fine of $500.

We proudly live in a dog-friendly community!

Many places in Washington County cater to pets, including neighborhood parks with designated off leash areas.

However, in public spaces outside of designated off leash areas, dogs must be leashed at all times.

Washington County Animal Services responds to over 7,000 calls a year. Many of those calls are related to dogs off leash and situations that result in animals and people being hurt. Many owners tell us they never thought their dog would bite, but we investigate over 500 dog bites a year.

Allowing your dog off leash creates substantial liability for you, and great discomfort or risk for other pets and people trying to enjoy parks and school grounds.

Many people are uncomfortable with dogs being off leash. People may have a fear of dogs, or leashed dogs may be reactive to unleashed dogs approaching them. By allowing your dog off leash, you prevent others from comfortably using the public spaces we all share.

Please be a responsible pet owner and be considerate of others. Keep your dog on leash to prevent unwanted and unsafe situations, and to avoid a citation.

Thank you for keeping your dog on a leash!


What does it mean for a dog to be 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.