• Kenneth Powell

Does Missouri Have a Leash Law?

Most US states have clear and strict laws in place for all dog owners. These laws are imposed to ensure the safety of the dog and those around it. In a couple of states, the leash law is the base of these regulations, with others building on it.

But what about Missouri? Does it have one all-encompassing leash law, or is the situation slightly more complicated? From state regulations to city laws, here is what every dog owner should know.

Missouri’s Adequate Control Law

Missouri’s Adequate Control Law

The short answer to the starting question is: no, Missouri does not have a leash law as some other states do. However, the lack of a leash law does not mean that dog owners don’t have to abide by any regulations.

The state of Missouri has its so-called Adequate Control Law. It states that dogs and all other animals need to be restrained and supervised in public so as to prevent injury to other people and animals in their vicinity. This law only pertains to dogs on public properties. The animals can roam freely on the owner’s private estate.

If an unrestrained dog bites a human or another animal, the injured party has the right to sue the dog’s owner. After all, it was their responsibility to keep the canine in check while outside.

The injured party can demand compensation for medical bills, the damage of material goods, pain and suffering, as well as loss of wages. If the owner does not have pet insurance, they will have to pay for the damages out of their own pockets.

State Laws for Parks

While Missouri does not have a state-wide leash law, its parks do have strict dog regulations. For example, owners walking a dog in a park must have it on a leash that is no longer than 10 feet. This law applies to all dogs, regardless of their size and age. Service dogs are the only exceptions, as their owners need them at their sides at all times.

In addition, dogs are not allowed on beaches, in historic buildings, around public swimming areas, and waters reserved for fishing. Again, dogs for people with disabilities are exempt from this rule.

Non-service dogs being at any of these locations will result in a fine (usually $28.50). If the dog bites a human or an animal, the owner will get a citation and have to pay an even bigger fine ($153.50). In addition, the injured party can sue the owner for damages, including medical bills and pain and suffering.

City Laws in the State of Missouri

Although the state does not impose leash laws, its cities and counties have the authority to do so. For example, St. Louis has extremely strict regulations for all dog owners in public. These laws are in place to help the owners enjoy time outside with their pets while still keeping others safe.

In the city, owners have to restrain dogs at all times, as soon as they leave private property. Moreover, a person of sound mind must hold the leash. The animals can only be unrestrained and allowed to roam freely in places specifically designated for dog exercise.

There are also regulations about the type of leash an owner has to use. For one, it cannot be longer than six feet. In addition, it has to be sturdy enough to contain the animal, regardless of its size and weight.

Violating these laws will result in fines and citations. Of course, if an unleashed dog bites someone, the owner can also be liable for damages aside from paying the fine. There is also the matter of needing a dog license in Missouri.

Other Missouri Leash Laws

Different municipalities in Missouri have leash regulations that vary in strictness. Most of them require that owners control their dogs’ movement in some manner. Failing to do so can result in various consequences.

For example, some areas will impound all dogs found on the streets unsupervised. In such cases, the owners lose their property rights to the animal, as the lives of other people were in danger.

Dog Bite Liability

The lack of a state-wide leash law does not mean that the bite victims have little right to file claims. In fact, Missouri’s dog bite liability regulations are extremely strict. Victims can pursue a case and get the compensation they are due if an unrestrained animal bites them. You can also find out what happens when your dog bites another dog in Missouri.

If you need help with a dog bite case, you can rely on an experienced dog bite attorney in St Louis.