Does Washington State Have A Dog Leash Law?

What Is Leash law? Does It Apply In Washington State?

Leash laws are ordinances requiring dogs to be restrained when not confined to their owner's property. 

Some people assume that their state has a mandatory leash law. This is the case in only two states – Michigan and Pennsylvania. Most states, Washington included, mandate restraint for dogs by outlawing loose dogs (often called "dogs at large").

  • Leash laws are generally instituted and enforced by a city or a municipality
  • There is not a statewide leash law in Washington

There is a Seattle ordinance that requires all pets (except for cats and, strangely enough, pigeons) to be kept on leashes anytime they are off their owners' property. The pet may be "at large," which means that it can move around without a leash, in certain parks, commonly referred to as "dog parks." This dog park rule wasn't added until 1997.

Any person that brings their dog to an off-lease dog park area remains liable for damages or injury inflicted by the dog and is subject to all applicable Washington state and local laws regulating dogs.

The Seattle Municipal Code defines "at large" as “not under control by a leash” with a maximum length of eight feet.

While an off-leash dog would not appear to pose a threat in most situations, there are situations when they can cause a disturbance. Dogs not on a leash can scare off other native animal species, destroy property and be of danger to children and elderly adults. There are 14 designated off-leash dog parks in Seattle. 

Failure to have your dog on a leash in Seattle results in a $54 fine. Check with your local municipality to find out what the leash laws are in your area.

Each year, thousands of people are injured from dog bites. In many of those cases, the injuries sustained are worthy of legal compensation for medical bills and other damages. Having an experienced attorney can be valuable in these situations. Attorney Chris Davis and the top-rated Seattle dog bite attorneys at Davis Law Group, P.S., can help you. Call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the contact form on this page for a free case evaluation.

Chris Davis
Chris Davis is the founder of Davis Law Group. His legal analysis has appeared on local and national news.