Old Leash Laws – New Enforcement
As members of the communities that we care about, most of us lean toward following our local laws and ordinances. We do this because we instinctively understand that in doing so, we are helping to create a cohesive and safe environment for ourselves, our loved ones and others who share the same resources and spaces that we do.
One important and long-standing ordinance in Central Oregon has been regarding leash laws. Over the years, in recognition of a desire and need for more off leash freedom, some of our local cities, together with private citizen assistance, have built large, enclosed spaces where dogs can run, chase balls, frisbees and interact with other dogs off leash. If not in these areas, laws mostly require that dogs be on a leash and under the control of his/her handler. (See specific community laws below.)
While the off-leash areas have worked well, some individuals have still opted to let their dogs run loose in non-designated areas. This decision recently resulted in the brutal death of a small and much-loved dog named Tucker who was viciously attacked by an off-leash dog in Redmond. This dog’s owner had decided that the local law didn’t or shouldn’t apply to him when he was let free in the parking lot of a local park. The owner and his dog fled and (as of this writing) have yet to be apprehended.
The grief suffered by Tucker’s family has been immense and as a result of this incident, as well as many others that have been harmful but less severe, the city of Redmond has recommitted to more stringent enforcement of local leash laws. And while the death of this innocent dog is heartbreaking to his family and other community members, it is important to note that this attack could have been perpetuated on a child resulting in the same end result.
If you live in a neighborhood and insist that your dog should be allowed to roam your property unleashed, please know that if your dog is off your property at all, the same enhanced enforcement of rules and fines will apply. State laws and local ordinances regarding our canine friends are not intended as punishment but are in place for the safe and rewarding outdoor experiences for everyone.
For all of the above reasons, we strongly encourage dog owners to rethink your actions before allowing your dog off leash. If not for the good of the community at large, be aware that some areas such as Redmond, will set stiff base fines starting at $250.
JEFFERSON COUNTY Dogs running at large. A. The owner or keeper of a dog in Jefferson County shall not allow the dog to run at large. B. The prohibition against dogs running at large is effective immediately pursuant to the results of the November 3, 1964 general election. C. When a dog is found running at large in Jefferson County, law enforcement officer or other police, sheriff or dog control officer shall impound it or cite the owner or keeper or both.
No person shall permit any dog to run at large upon or within any park. Dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet (6’) in length except when such dog(s) may be conducting obedience demonstrations during an authorized event.
“Running at large” means that a dog is off or outside of the premises from which the keeper of the dog may lawfully exclude others, or is not in the company of and under the control of its keeper, except if the dog is:
(a) Being used to legally hunt, chase or tree wildlife while under the supervision of the keeper;
(b) Being used to control or protect livestock or for other activities related to agriculture; or
(c) Within any part of a vehicle.
609.060 Notice of county prohibition on dogs running at large. (1) If the governing body of a county by ordinance, or a measure approved by the electors in an election conducted in accordance with ORS chapter 250, prohibits dogs from running at large, the county shall give notice, by publication in a newspaper having a general circulation in the county.
(2) After 60 days from the date of the notice, every person keeping a dog shall prevent the dog from running at large in any county or city where prohibited. A person who is the keeper of a dog commits a Class B violation if the dog runs at large where prohibited.
DESCHUTES COUNTY LAW
Does Deschutes County have a Leash Law?
No, however it does have an “At Large” ordinance.
County Code 6.08.15 Defines At Large to mean a dog or other animal found off the premises of the owner or keeper while the dog or animal is not under the complete control of a capable person. This would allow for dogs, which are trained to be off of the leash, however would require them to be under the control of the handler.
Animals at Large. 1. No animal, other than domestic cats, shall run at large, except in designated public off leash areas, regulated by the City of Redmond. The owner having the care or control of the animal shall be responsible for an animal at large. 2. A violation of this section is a Class C civil infraction. Any animal found at large which is subject to this subsection shall be impounded at the owner’s expense. 3. Sections 5.250 through 5.285 of the City Code shall be enforced within designated off leash areas. Additionally: A. All puppies younger than 4 months are prohibited within off-leash areas. B. Female dogs in heat are prohibited within off-leash areas.
Dogs at Large:
Dogs are required to be controlled on a tethered leash inside the City of Bend except in an approved Bend Parks and Recreation dog park or on private property with the property owner’s permission.
Any dog not contained within the owner or keeper’s property must be controlled by an electronic device, mechanical means, or hand or voice command to immediately restrict the actions and movement of a dog by the person responsible for the dog.
No person, while on property owned by, leased to, or controlled by the City of Prineville, shall possess or be in control of a dog that meets any of the following conditions:
Is not controlled by a leash of less than ten feet in length and adequate for the dog unless on the real property of the owner, possessor or controller or in a designated off-leash area.