Local Leash Laws

Arlington County wants you and your furry friend to be safe and have fun. While off their owner’s property, all dogs in the County must be on a leash and under the control of their owner or of another responsible person.

Regardless of age and level of training, this is why you should leave the leash on:

It keeps your dog safe. An off-leash and possibly unsupervised dog may eat up, step on, or drink from something he shouldn’t have. He may encounter a familiar or unfamiliar animal, which could lead to injury or illness. If your dog interacts with a raccoon or a fox, then he will be quarantined to reduce the risk of rabies. Off-leash dogs may be as unpredictable as the people, wildlife, and nearby road activity around them.

It keeps other dogs safe. The interactions and reactions between dogs, leashed or unleashed, are also very unpredictable. Unfortunately, dog-on-dog attacks are common in Arlington County. Please do your part to avoid future attacks and injuries by leaving the leash on your dog.

It is considerate. Arlington County’s sidewalks, parks, and school grounds are public places for everyone to enjoy. You know your dog, but an upcoming passerby may be afraid of an unfamiliar dog or may be too young, unsuspecting, or elderly to handle an overly-friendly dog. An average of 200 people are treated for dog bite wounds in Arlington every year. Please respect the area and people around you by keeping your dog on his leash.

It protects the environment and human health. Stepping in dog waste is never pleasant. An off-leash and possibly unsupervised dog may ‘do their business’ without your knowledge; therefore, the waste is left to the elements, which could be the unfortunate shoe of a passerby or the nearby stream filled with wildlife.

It’s the law. If you leave your property with your dog, then you must leash your dog. Electronic training collars do not meet the leash requirement. The only exception to this law is when the dog and its owner are at a county-sanctioned, off-leash dog park. Violators are punishable by Arlington County Code 2-6, which states that dogs must be leashed even when owners are present, and Code 2-5, which indicates that a dog is running at large. Repeat offenders of either code will be subjected to elevated fines and additional charges.

Where can my dog play off-leash? Visit an Arlington County dog park! A full list of the eight, off-leash County dog parks is available at: https://arlingtonva.us/parksfacilities/dog-parks/