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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was talking to our local pet store manager about off leash training. She advised me not to do it. She said they got so many off leash tickets they were required to go to court. I know we have had this topic before and the consensus was to just do it anyway, but this could be serious. I have found a few somewhat hidden places that I won’t share with anyone who hasn’t already found them for themselves, but I could still get caught. Hers were all received in parks or on public trails. They are also very expensive. But going to court? That seems extreme. Now, I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to get ticketed. She said it doesn’t matter if you leash the dog right away. If they catch you, it is an automatic write up. It sounds like a new revenue stream.
 

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It depends on where you live I suppose and the issues they have. I like very large wide open areas for off leash exploring so it is easy to see who is coming or going. I have found that people are also respectable this way and all have a more then enough space to leash up. There some places that do allow off leash during off season times if that is what something one wants.
 

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Find out where hunting is allowed and frequent those areas in the off season.
 

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Read the statute in full- in my state, the town must follow a specific process to adopt the state's dog control law. If they haven't, then the state law does not apply and there is no 'leash law'. Dog control law in this state allows for the dog to be off leash if under full control of the owner. It also makes allowances for bear hounds and hunting dogs to basically run wild and uncontrolled.

If you use an e-collar, that can often count as a leash, depending on the town and state.

Good bets for off leash areas are federally owned lands especially BLM and Nat'l Forest. State lands and parks depending on their particular rules, and "wildife management areas" (in the off season).

Just a random aside... if your dog likes to swim... 'navigable' waters up to the high water mark are state owned. So if you are on a riverbed, and a town official tries to ticket you, they can't. It must be a state official. Random bit of info I picked up on the job as a lifeguard long ago when an individual waded into the water to avoid the town police... highly unlikely a state trooper is going to worry about leash laws.

Also, it doesn't hurt to check with a lawyer on the language and interpretation of the leash law... it can be quite vague and confusing.
 

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It all depends on the community where you go off leash. Would you be in the exact community where the pet store person got their tickets? I'd say that most communities don't have the budget to focus on dog tickets, unless enforcement is so extreme and and tickets so costly that it brings in enough revenue to support the staff to aggressively enforce a leash law.

Perhaps you might want to check with whatever entity would patrol the area (city official or park ranger, etc). Check online for info. about the area. (reviews, rules, code, etc.). If you try calling, don't say you want to go off leash. Perhaps inquire in general - maybe saying you have seen some dogs off leash & were wondering about rules & enforcement policy.

I'd think that if you find a safe place to train for off leash, that learning it could be a good thing. If your dog obeys well off leash, you could use it sparingly, where you feel it's safe to do so. I'm thinking that if a dog gets loose, that off leash experience with following commands could be helpful.

I live in California. There are laws about both off-leash dogs & littering, but it's rare for anyone to enforce them. There is no one patrolling the large urban park that I go to. Animal control doesn't patrol the streets, looking to give tickets. If they are out on a call & view someone walking with an off-leash dog or a dog roaming free, they will deal with that.

Perhaps ask some other dog owners, that you encounter in various areas where you want to walk. Either there is extreme enforcement in the areas that the pet store person got their tickets, or they are exaggerating. If you come to California, the chances would be slim to none that you'd get a ticket. They have gone soft on crime here, so you can walk you dog off leash & shoplift at the same time - no problem.
 

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If she was regularly going to the same areas that could be the reason. Often leash laws are only enforced in a few specific areas that are highly public and/or have a lot of trouble with unleashed dogs. Such as well known trails that get a lot of visitors or highly used parks.

They had a no dogs allowed sign in a park in my town for years, they never enforced it but now with too many people not picking up poo and too many public events happening there it is now enforced.

I'd read the statutes of your specific state and cities. In some of them they mention voice control as an appropriate method while others don't. It really varies.
 

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The local park where I live can fine you $300.00 and/or 30 days in jail. They do have animal control patrol regularly and almost all parks are now using park rangers. Many people have simply stopped walking their dogs. Taking a dog to a park for an on leash walk is like taking a kid to an amusement park and making them walk around looking at all the fun things they can't do. Communities are overrun with I'll contained dangerous dogs and aren't amenable to dog walking. Small breed dogs are provided with relatively safe havens in dog parks for small dogs. Large breed dogs don't have that luxury and dog parks for large dogs can be polluted with dogs that aren't there to play.

This doesn't leave a lot of choices except to take your chances and facing fines, providing proper exercise and outlets for your dogs, and keeping them safe vs obeying the law.

Most people here opt to face a fine believing that if they get fined an average of once a year, $300.00 is a small annual fee to pay for giving your dog off leash opportunity. How much do private dog parks or doggy daycares cost a year?

Lastly, I know of a few people, very few, that have received warnings. I don't know of anyone that has been fined. My personal experience is that if you leash up for a minute to leave the area, they generally don't say anything. If you have verbal control, you might get a mild warning. If you have a GSD, and LE is involved, they are more interested in your dog than bothering you about the dog being off leash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I found a few areas that are very deserted, so I think I am ok, but it makes me very nervous. I think a ticket a month would stop anyone from going off leash. I’m also going to talk to our trainer because he knows other areas. The pet store is not in my city but the parks are and we all have the same LE. I’m going to talk to a community outreach officer from our local PD. We are meeting with them soon anyway for something else. I’m going to ask them directly about off leash fines.
 

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Color me stupid, but what is LE?

Off leash is very enforced here. Maybe because the majority of dog owners own BB’s? Whatever the reason, I am thankful for it! But city laws don’t carry out to the county, which is where I live. We have a few people walking the neighborhood with off leash dogs, but they are very well behaved. Now the idiot with the pack of pugs, I call county when they are out. They are not off leash, they are at large. Which brings the city in since county has no AC.

We find plenty of off leash areas in the county where we won’t see another person. It’s desert, so watching for cacti is the biggest issue. And occasionally an off road vehicle. But it’s so quiet that you can hear someone coming well before you see them, which give you time to snap on a leash. It’s about 30-45 drive, but worth it for us when the dogs start feeling too cooped up.
 

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I'm in the Bay Area, and the East Bay Regional Parks are all off leash under voice control with the exception of developed areas like parking lots, picnic areas, marinas, campgrounds, and paved walking paths that are marked as on leash only. EBRP is the largest urban regional park district in the US, with 73 parks, over 1250 miles of trails on almost 125,000 acres in two counties. We are fortunate to have lots of places to walk off leash, but the trails are multi-use, so there could be horses and mountain bikes as well as hikers sharing the trails.

I prefer to obey rules, I think it's especially important with our breed, but if my only options were little used places where I was unlikely to encounter other people I'd probably risk it, especially if I had a reliably well behaved dog with a good recall. The park closest to me has a lake that has had a problem with toxic algae recently. The lake is an emergency backup water supply, so there is no swimming or body contact (people OR dogs), but that was largely ignored once you get away from the populous area near the marina. Park rangers even told me a few years ago that they tended to look the other way as long as you were on the far side of the lake on the dirt trails, and I did swim Halo there a few times prior to the algae warning.

Cava is always on leash there because I'm not taking the risk of her going into the water. All of my dogs have loved to swim and no matter how good their recall was in general it would be non-existent if there was water nearby, lol.
 
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I was talking to our local pet store manager about off leash training. She advised me not to do it. She said they got so many off leash tickets they were required to go to court. I know we have had this topic before and the consensus was to just do it anyway, but this could be serious. I have found a few somewhat hidden places that I won’t share with anyone who hasn’t already found them for themselves, but I could still get caught. Hers were all received in parks or on public trails. They are also very expensive. But going to court? That seems extreme. Now, I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to get ticketed. She said it doesn’t matter if you leash the dog right away. If they catch you, it is an automatic write up. It sounds like a new revenue stream.
The city I used to live in was very strict, and very expensive. I also recall that after so many tickets they could seize your dog, make you fight to get it back. Be careful.
 

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Where I lived in Florida and now here in South Carolina you are allowed to take your dogs to the public parks with fenced in ball fields to let them off leash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The city I used to live in was very strict, and very expensive. I also recall that after so many tickets they could seize your dog, make you fight to get it back. Be careful.
I need to find out if I can use a ball field when it’s not in use. It is huge and fenced, so other dogs can’t get in without going through a gate. I just want to exercise my dogs without having to socialize with people or dogs. I get enough of that the rest of the time. I also go to a few parks with hidden areas no one else uses for dogs.
 

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The city I used to live in was very strict, and very expensive. I also recall that after so many tickets they could seize your dog, make you fight to get it back. Be careful.
I need to find out if I can use a ball field when it’s not in use. It is huge and fenced, so other dogs can’t get in without going through a gate. I just want to exercise my dogs without having to socialize with people or dogs. I get enough of that the rest of the time. I also go to a few parks with hidden areas no one else uses for dogs.
You can also look into public tennis areas. Ours here are fully fenced, rarely used, and you can lock the gate once inside so no one else can come it. It’s also a great place to exercise them because it has the soft sponge like surface most tennis courts have. This is where we would work Lyka with the trainer in the beginning. It was ideal for our needs!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You can also look into public tennis areas. Ours here are fully fenced, rarely used, and you can lock the gate once inside so no one else can come it. It’s also a great place to exercise them because it has the soft sponge like surface most tennis courts have. This is where we would work Lyka with the trainer in the beginning. It was ideal for our needs!
I need to find a public one. The courts near me all have an entrance fee or require a club membership. I actually trained a previous German Shepherd next to a public court. Tennis balls always flew over the fence and he was ball obsessed, so it was like a reward raining down from the sky. I would give him a command, he did it and plop, there was a ball. If we got more than one, I would toss it back over the fence, but they were always slobbery. The people were just practicing against a backboard and were probably using old, flat balls because no one ever asked for them back.
 

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I’m going to talk to a community outreach officer from our local PD. We are meeting with them soon anyway for something else. I’m going to ask them directly about off leash fines.
If one of your questions would be about how aggressive they are with enforcement, you might get a different answer in front of a group, versus a sidebar with one officer.
 

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In Ohio, there is a state wide leash law in the Ohio revised code. But it is written in such a way that one could argue that if the dog is under voice control, that is fine. That is what I go by.

In the city, in Cleveland though, they seem to have their own laws, and while I did not get ticketed. I nearly got arrested for having my dog in my vehicle with the windows down and the back up when the temp was 55 degrees, and they said it was too cold. I told them she has a double coat and they could go suck an egg (not in those words, not swearing or anything) but it wasn't until the off-duty Cleveland cop came over and talked to the little boys that they cooled down. I was hot. She explained that my sister owned the building and I was working there, and I bring the dog every day, and the dog works with me, and I am always out there taking care of it, and they finally shut up.

I wouldn't have worked there in their crappy city without my dog with me. I could lock up at night and drag the gate closed and pad lock it only because she was in my car with the door open. It was a bad neighborhood, and these young kids were probably picking on me because I looked easy.

Then I locked my keys and my dog in the car and had to have them call the fire dept. 55 degrees. It still burns me up and that was years ago.

Another time when I was out in my sister's neighborhood, Seven Hills, Ohio, I was riding bikes with my nieces, and Babs was running at a heel alongside. Some yayhoo told me that was very dangerous and against the law. His kid could not control his leashed dog, I just reached down and snapped her leash on, but it was far more dangerous to ride with a leashed dog than to ride with a well-trained dog running free alongside. The guy was jealous.

Never did get a ticket for the dogs.

Had the dog warden out at my place twice though. Once because she heard someone in a silver car was dumping puppies at the covered bridge. I told her I did have a few puppies, but I wouldn't be dumping them, they were line bred 3-3 on a world sieger, and I was excited about them. She left.

The other time was when someone I wouldn't sell a puppy too called the dog warden, the Ashtabula humane society, and probably someone else too. The next morning, after I wouldn't sell to her, the humane society and Dog Warden showed up at my place in the morning and looked at all my dogs. But that's not all. They had gone to my vet and asked them about me. And they went to the courthouse to see that I had a venders' license and a kennel license. They let me know all was in order, and they had no problem with what I had going on there.

Still it's awkward. An anonymous call would not bring the cops out for selling meth, but they wage a full-blown investigation on you if you have dogs. It's interesting to say the least.

The dog warden, the police, and the humane society was called on me, because after dark, when I got home from work, I would stop at my parents' house leaving my dog in my car while I used the internet. The dog worked with me all day, so leaving her in the car for a few hours wasn't cruel. It certainly wasn't like crating her for 10 hours while I am working. But whatever. They thought the dog may have been living in my car. Like that's against the law. They wouldn't call about homeless people with children living out of a car, but God forbid a dog live in a car! Whatever.

People need to mind their own business. It feels like Nazi Germany when folks are quick to call authorities and turn people in left and right. If someone is being violent to a child or animal call the police, but if you just don't know and can't see anyone being abused, then MYOB.
 
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