Ohio Leash Laws | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC Hurt in a Car? Call KNR.

Dog owners in Ohio are responsible for their pets. As such, they must be aware of and comply with the state’s leash laws to help prevent injuries. Failing to abide by them can result in hefty fines and legal consequences, not least being held liable for any damages caused by an unleashed dog bite.

If you are a dog bite victim and have questions about your legal options and eligibility for compensation, contact the Ohio injury lawyers at KNR for a free consultation.

Ohio’s Leash Laws

Ohio Revised Code Section 955.22 outlines the Ohio dog leash laws. It requires dogs to be on a leash no longer than six feet long in public places unless otherwise specified. If a dog is on someone else’s property, it must be on a leash regardless of whether the owner allows it.

Additionally, the leash should be controlled by a person of suitable age and discretion to adequately restrain the dog and prevent injury to others. The law also holds dog owners strictly liable for any injuries or damages caused by their dog, regardless of whether the dog was on a leash.

Where Do Dog Leash Laws Apply?

Ohio’s dog leash laws apply in public and private areas, with some exceptions. Public places include parks, sidewalks, and streets. Private property leash rules can be a bit more complicated and vary depending on the location.

If your dog is on your property, you are not usually required to have them on a leash unless they have a documented history of running away or attacking others. Dogs on someone else’s property should be on a leash, regardless of whether the owner allows it. Two exceptions to this rule apply to law enforcement dogs and hunting dogs performing their duties.

What Leashes Are Allowed?

Ohio’s dog leash laws do not specify what types of leashes are allowed, but there are some guidelines to ensure your pet’s safety and compliance with the law. A standard leash, no longer than six feet in length, is the most common type of leash used by dog owners in Ohio. Retractable leashes are also popular, but they can be dangerous and are not recommended by many experts. They can easily get tangled and cause injuries to dogs and humans.

Your leash should also be in good condition, with no tears or fraying, and properly secured to your dog’s collar or harness.

Do Service Dogs Require a Leash?

Service dogs are trained to assist individuals with disabilities. They are often allowed to accompany their owners in public places, such as restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses where pets are generally prohibited. In most cases, the ADA requires service animals to be harnessed, leashed, or tethered while in public unless these devices interfere with the animal’s work or the person’s disability prevents the use of these devices.

Since service dogs are specifically trained to help their owners, they are exempt from many Ohio leash laws, but service dogs still must always be under the control of their owners. If they pose a threat to others, they may be required to wear a muzzle or be restrained in some other way.

Penalties for Violating Ohio Leash Laws

Failing to comply with Ohio’s dog leash laws can result in penalties, fines, and legal consequences in the event of an injury. In many cases, the penalties increase with each offense. Rule 1501:46-3-06 states that “any animal found at large may be seized and disposed of” per that area’s laws. So, ensuring your dog is always properly leashed and accounted for is crucial.

Ohio leash penalties include:

  • A first offense may result in a warning or fine of up to $150. The fine may be reduced if you attend a training program or take other corrective actions to prevent future non-compliance.
  • A second offense fine can range from $250 to $500, and you may be required to attend a training program or take other corrective actions.
  • For a third offense, the fine can range from $500 to $1,000, and you may be required to surrender your dog or face criminal charges.

Dog Leash Laws & Owner Liability

Under Ohio law, a dog owner is strictly liable for any injuries or damages caused by their dog, regardless of whether the owner knew the dog was likely to bite. This means that if a dog bites someone, the owner or party in control of the animal is usually responsible for any injuries or damages the victim incurs, whether the dog was on a leash or not.

An exception to dog bite liability would include if the victim was trespassing on private property, committing a crime, or provoked the dog somehow.

Remember that regardless of Ohio’s strict liability concerning dog bites, a violation of Ohio’s dog leash laws during an attack could be used as evidence of negligence, strengthening a compensation claim.

Leash Rules at Ohio Dog Parks

Ohio has several dog parks where dogs can socialize and play off-leash in designated areas. While the rules may vary by park, most dog parks in Ohio have leash requirements that dog owners must follow. Some standard leash rules in Ohio dog parks include:

  • Leash requirement outside of designated off-leash areas: Dogs must be on a leash and under control when entering and exiting the dog park and in areas where off-leash activity is not permitted.
  • Leash-free zones: Dog parks usually have designated off-leash areas where dogs can run and play freely without a leash. Dog owners must always keep their dogs within the off-leash area and under control.
  • Dog behavior: Dog owners are always responsible for their dog’s behavior. Aggressive dogs, excessively barking or causing a disturbance, may be asked to leave the park.
  • Cleanup: Dog owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets in the off-leash area and elsewhere in the park.
  • Supervision: Dog owners must oversee and manage their dogs in the park.

Ohio’s dog parks are designed to provide a safe and fun environment for dogs, but accidents can still happen. Dog owners should take necessary precautions to ensure their dog’s safety and the safety of others, such as keeping their dog up to date on vaccinations, providing adequate supervision, and keeping their dog under control.

Is the Dog Park Responsible?

If a dog injured you or a loved one at a dog park, you might believe the city or business operating the park is at fault. Generally, entities like these would be responsible for a dog bite and subsequent injuries if their negligence caused or substantially contributed to the injury. For example, the park could be liable if the gate to the off-leash zone or some other safety equipment was in disrepair, leading to a dog getting out and attacking someone.

Did An Unleashed Dog Bite You?

Remember that dog bites can be severe and should be taken seriously. If you or a loved one are attacked by a dog in Ohio that wasn’t leashed or adequately restrained by the individual responsible for the animal, here are the steps you should take:

  • Remain Calm & Seek Medical Attention
  • Photograph & Document Your Injuries
  • Collect Any Available Owner or Witness Information
  • Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
  • Report the Incident t Animal Control or Police
  • Gather All Relevant Documents
  • Speak to an Experienced Injury Lawyer

Contact the Ohio Dog Bite Lawyers at KNR

If an unleashed dog in Ohio bites you or a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses and other damages that you endured because the owner neglected their responsibility. At KNR, our attorneys have helped numerous people recover compensation after serious dog attacks. Let us evaluate the detail, help determine if Ohio leash laws strengthen your case, and what you can expect from a claim or lawsuit.

Our offices are conveniently located throughout Ohio. As one of the largest personal injury firms in the state, we have fought for injured Ohioans for over 15 years and know how to get results.

Call 1-800-HURT-NOW for a free consultation, and there are no fees unless you recover compensation.