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6 Feet Is the Magic Number

Retractable/extendable leashes are not your (or your dog’s) friend. There are myriad reasons to use a “flat lead,” a standard 6-foot dog leash typically made of nylon, leather or rope, over a retractable leash, which is dangerous to humans and dogs—and illegal to use in Orange County. 

Dangers of Retractable Leashes

The length of retractable leashes, some of which can extend up to 26 feet, allows dogs to get far enough away from their humans that a situation can quickly turn dangerous. A dog on a retractable leash is often able to run into the middle of the street, for example, or make uninvited contact with other dogs or people. It’s much easier to regain control of—or protect—a dog at the end of a 6-foot standard flat leash than it is if he’s 20 or so feet away.

If a dog walker gets tangled up in a retractable leash cord, or grabs it in an attempt to reel in their dog, it can result in burns, cuts or worse. Many people have been pulled right off their feet by a dog that reaches the end of the leash and keeps going, resulting in bruises, “road rash” and broken bones. Dogs have also suffered terrible injuries as a result of the sudden jerk on their neck that occurs when they run out the leash, including neck wounds, lacerated trachea and spine injuries.

Only 6-Foot Leashes Are Legal

In the Code of Ordinances City of Laguna Woods, Sec. 5.14.010, “Leash required; restraint of dogs,” states: “No person owning or having charge, care, custody, or control of any dog shall cause or allow, either willfully or through failure to exercise due care or control, any such dog to be upon any highway, street, alley or any other public property unless such dog be restrained by a substantial chain, or leash not exceeding six feet in length, and is under the charge of a person competent to exercise care, custody and control over such dog, unless the owner or operator of such public property grants written permission for such dog to be on such property without such chain or leash.”

Orange County Codified Ordinance OCCO 4-1-45, “Restraint of dogs,” states: “‘No person owning or having charge, care, custody, or control of any dog shall cause or permit, either willfully or through failure to exercise due care or control, any such dog to be upon any public property unless such dog be restrained by a substantial chain, or leash not exceeding six (6) feet in length, and is under the charge of a person competent to exercise care, custody, and control over such dog.’ You must keep your dog leashed anytime your dog is off your property. Your dog must be on a leash no longer then six (6) feet in length and in the care of a competent adult. There are designated ‘dog parks’ throughout Orange County that lawfully allow the absence of a leash.”

Click here to review other Orange County pet laws. 

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