Wait, that’s illegal?

Leash laws demand a leash for every pooch and a collar for Fido too

More stories from Julia Van Allen

Seeking Solace
May 13, 2019

Confession: I love dogs. So. Much. My family recently got a puppy and I’m basically obsessed with his cute little face and penchant for forgetting how long someone was gone, only to get super excited to see them. Dogs are, in my very professional opinion, amazing. Plain and simple.

Now, I feel like I’m not alone in assuming that if a dog is well-trained enough to walk beside his or her person without a leash, that’s a pretty amazing stunt. An old family dog was able to do that, well at least until we got another puppy and the training went out the window with a bundle of energy.

Unfortunately, in some areas of the country, dogs need to be on leashes when in public spaces.

According to the Michigan Legislature, Chapter 287.262 Sec. 2. “It shall be unlawful for any person to own any dog 6 months old or over, unless the dog is licensed as hereinafter provided, or to own any dog 6 months old or over that does not at all times wear a collar with a tag approved by the director of agriculture…except when engaged in lawful hunting accompanied by its owner or custodian; or for any owner of any female dog to permit the female dog to go beyond the premises of such owner when she is in heat, unless the female dog is held properly in leash; or for any person except the owner or authorized agent, to remove any license tag from a dog; or for any owner to allow any dog, except working dogs such as leader dogs, guard dogs, farm dogs, hunting dogs, and other such dogs, when accompanied by their owner or his authorized agent, while actively engaged in activities for which such dogs are trained, to stray unless held properly in leash.”

In the state of Michigan, all canine furry friends older than 6 months old need to be registered and wearing a collar at all times and wearing a leash whenever off of their owner’s property.

Free-range pups need to be reigned in.

Where did this law come from? Why can’t the good little boys and girls run free, as long as they’re not causing a ruckus?

This law, called the Dog Law of 1919, created a mandate for dogs being on leashes at all times, but it doesn’t demand statewide leash laws. Local governments are in charge of interpreting the nuance with the decision to keep the dogs on leashes or to let them roam free. Many local governments require leashes and collars for every dog older than 6 months just to keep the peace.

This law was originally made to protect the citizens of the state. Additionally, it keeps livestock safe from overzealous hunting dogs. This law is meant to control animal behaviors and does so by placing the need for control on the owners of the dogs. Just picture the chaos of every dog running free: It is both the most beautiful and most terrifying thing I can imagine.

But hey, at least dogs with jobs have a little more roaming freedom. Dogs who lead and herd livestock can do their thing without a leash dragging them down.

While promoting public safety and a well-organized society is all fun and dandy, I just want to see a parade of puppies walking down the street unencumbered by pesky leashes. Is that so much to ask?

Van Allen can be reached at [email protected]