Visit any local park on the weekend, and you’ll soon realize that there is no shortage of dog-lovers in our neighborhood. But walking the dog isn’t always a day at the park because Dallas has some pretty stringent laws when it comes to your four-legged friends. So before you leash up your pooch and head out the door, make sure you’re in the know about what’s legally required of you as a pet owner.

Some of us have heard of a “leash law” for dogs, but what exactly is it, and what happens if you break it?

The “leash law” requires owners to keep their dogs restrained at all times in a fenced yard, in an enclosed pen or structure, or by a tether or leash. Any dog found that is not properly restrained could result in the owner being issued a citation, the dog being impounded, or both. If a dog is impounded and the owner wants to retrieve the pet, they must provide proof of ownership, proof of registration and vaccination and pay associated redemption fees. If the owner cannot provide the necessary proof of vaccinations or registration, additional fees will be charged.

Some of our neighborhood residents have reported seeing pet owners drive down alleyways with their leashed pets walking alongside the moving car. Is it illegal to walk your dog from your car while driving?

I believe this would be legal so long as the dog is leashed at all times and is not being made to keep an unrealistic pace or go beyond an acceptable distance. If the dog were being forced to exceed reasonable expectations for that breed, age or physical condition, then the cruelty to animals statute would apply. Also, you can’t transport an animal within the bed of any moving pickup, flatbed or similar vehicle, unless the animal is in a carrier or other device sufficient to keep the animal from falling from the vehicle.

Okay, nobody likes scooping poop, but are pet owners required to do it by law?

Yes, the “pooper scooper” ordinance requires owners of dogs to carry implements for the removal and disposal of dog excrement when they are on city or private property, or on property in a public place.

Some residents foster animals in their homes, and some just own multiple pets. Are there any laws limiting the amount of pets in a residence?

Yes, in homes sharing common walls, such as apartments or condominiums, a person is limited to a total of four cats or dogs. But the city doesn’t limit the number of pets in detached homes.

I know we’ve highlighted some of the main pet laws, but where can residents go to find out more details?

You can find ordinances governing the care, maintenance, and control of animals in the city in Chapter 7 of the Dallas City Code. Anyone interested in reading all of the ordinances related to pets can access the City Code directly by visiting dallascityhall.com.


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