San Diego County Leash Laws
San Diego County leash laws exist in order to promote order among dog owners and the public at large. They also exist to keep everyone, including the dogs, as safe as possible. Anyone who owns a dog understands that there are leash laws that apply to different situations, but other than in general terms, a lot of people are not aware of the particular San Diego County leash laws that apply to their individual situations.
We’re going to help with that below. There are San Diego County leash laws that exist on a countywide level, but there are also specific ordinances that have been enacted by individual communities. Below you’ll find the countywide leash laws that are currently in place along with a list of communities that simply follow them either overtly or on basically a verbatim basis
You will also find a list of communities that have adopted their own leash laws and the specific text for each. Click on the relevant link for your community below to review the laws in order to make sure that you’re aware of what’s required.
Communities Following San Diego County Leash Laws
The following communities have incorporated the countywide leash law into their local municipal codes:
- El Cajon
- Lemon Grove
- San Diego
- Solana Beach
San Diego County Leash Laws
(a) A dog’s owner or custodian or a person who has control of a dog shall prevent the dog from being at large, except as provided in subsections (b) and (d) below.
(b) A dog’s owner or custodian who has direct and effective voice control over a dog to ensure that it does not violate any law, may allow a dog to be unrestrained by a leash while a dog is assisting an owner or custodian who is:
- Legally hunting.
- Legally herding livestock.
- On public property with the written permission of and for the purposes authorized by the agency responsible for regulating the use of the property.
(c) A dog’s owner or custodian or a person having control of a dog that is lawfully on private property shall keep the dog: (1) leashed or tethered as allowed under Health and Safety Code section 122335, (2) under direct and effective control by voice or electronic pet containment system or (3) in a building or enclosure that is adequate to ensure the physical confinement of the dog and that also meets humane standards. An animal is not considered leashed if the leash is not in the hand of a person capable of controlling the animal or if the person is not actually controlling the animal attached to the leash.
(c) This section shall not apply to a dog assisting or training to assist a law enforcement officer in the course and scope of the officer’s duties.
Communities With Their Own Leash Laws
Chula Vista Leash Laws
It is unlawful for any person owning, having interest in, harboring, or having the care, charge, custody, control, or possession of a dog to suffer, allow or permit such dog to:
A. Be upon any public street, alley, park, or other public place in the City, including public or private school grounds in the City, unless such dog is restrained by a chain, line, or leash and is in the custody of some competent person, or unless such dog is confined within a motor vehicle;
(Ord. 3226 § 1, 2012; Ord. 1706 § 1, 1976).
6.24.030 – Restraint of dogs by owner.
Dog owners or persons having care or custody of dogs shall at all times keep their dogs on a property< or the private property of another, with the permission of the <owner of that property, so as to prevent them from being at large< or stray, from biting or harassing any person engaged in a lawful act, from interfering with the use of public property or with the use of another person’s private property, and from being in violation of other sections of this code. However, dogs may be at large while participating in field trials and obedience classes organized and sanctioned by recognized dog clubs, while assisting their owner or trainer in legal hunting or in the herding of livestock, while assisting a peace officer engaged in law enforcement duties, or while being trained for the above purposes on private land with the permission of the land owner, so long as such dogs are under direct and effective sound or gesture control, within sight of such individuals to assure that they do not violate any other provisions of law.
(Ord. 3226 § 1, 2012; Ord. 1706 § 1, 1976).
Coronado Leash Laws
A. Any person owning or having custody or control of a dog shall at all times prevent the dog from attacking, biting, or otherwise causing injury to any person or animal engaged in a lawful act; from interfering with the lawful use of public or private property; or from damaging personal property which is lawfully upon public property or upon private property with the permission of the person who owns or has the right to possess or use the private property.
B. It is unlawful for any person owning or having custody or control of an animal to fail to exercise ordinary care with the result that the animal attacks, bites, or otherwise causes injury to a person engaged in lawful activity, if:
- The animal is a protection dog, guard dog, dangerous animal, or potentially dangerous animal; and
- The person owning or having custody or control of the dog knows or should have known of the animal’s vicious or dangerous nature, or the animal’s protection dog, guard dog, dangerous animal or potentially dangerous animal status.
This subsection does not apply to animals being used, at the time, in official military or law enforcement work.
Del Mar Leash Laws
Del Mar actually adopted the countywide leash laws listed above, but the community has also published specific ordinances that deal with their beaches. See below:
4.08.020 – Dogs and Animals.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to bring, allow or permit any dog upon any of the beaches or in any of the waters within the City unless such dog is restrained by a leash not in excess of six feet except as stated in Subsection B. Notwithstanding the exceptions in Subsection B., every owner of a dog shall restrain his dog from running at large on any of the beaches or waters in the City.
B. Provided such dogs are under the immediate voice command and control of their owners or keeper, this Subsection shall not prohibit off leash dogs in the following instances:
- Dogs may be off leash on the beaches or waters located northerly of a line being an extension of 29th Street from the day after Labor Day through June 15th, and from dawn to 8:00 a.m. year-round.
- Dogs may be off leash on the beaches or waters between an east-west line which is the westerly prolongation of the center line of 25th Street and an east-west line which is the westerly prolongation of the center line of 29th Street from dawn to 8:00 a.m. from the day after Labor Day through June 15th.
C. It shall be unlawful for any person to bring, allow or permit any dog upon the beach or in any adjacent waters between an east-west line perpendicular to the northern end of the Powerhouse Park property and an east-west line which is the westerly prolongation of the center line of 29th Street during the period of June 15th through Labor Day, except as stated in Subsection B. Every owner of a dog shall prevent his dog from being in the area prohibited by this Subsection, whether on a leash or running at large or otherwise, except as stated in Subsection B.
D. It shall be unlawful for any person to bring, allow or permit any animal upon the Tot Lot playground or southern turf (grass) portion of Powerhouse Park. Animals are permitted on all walkways and sidewalks but must be restrained by a leash not in excess of six feet and must be restrained so that the animal does not enter the prohibited areas. The prohibited area shall be posted with signage indicating the animal-free zone(s).
- For the purpose of this Subsection, the Tot Lot playground also includes the landscape surrounding the play equipment including but not limited to: play sand or dirt, sand boxes, grass, brush, plants, trees, benches, tables, fences, ropes barriers, and concrete hardscape.
Any person that allows an animal to excessively bark, harass, create a nuisance, or injure a person within the areas covered in this Section, even if the animal is restrained by a leash, shall be in violation of this Section.
Imperial Beach Leash Laws
No owner/guardian or keeper of a dog shall allow or permit such dog, whether licensed or unlicensed, to be or run at large in or upon any public place or premises, or in or upon any private place or premises other than those of said owner/guardian except with the consent of the person in charge of said private place or premises, unless such dog is securely restrained by a substantial leash not to exceed six feet in length and is in charge and control. For the purposes of this section, any dog in or upon any motor vehicle shall be deemed to be on the premises of the operator thereof.
La Mesa Leash Laws
No person owning or having the care, custody or control of any livestock or other domestic animal (other than cat), shall permit the same to be at large. No person shall allow any dog to be at large without having said dog on a leash with a suitable collar for said dog, including but not limited to a choke chain, which allows immediate and satisfactory control of said dog.
National City Leash Laws
A. It is unlawful for an owner or handler of a dog to allow that dog to run at large within the city limits. A dog is not at large if confined within a motor vehicle.
B. It is unlawful for an owner or handler of any dog required by this title to be licensed to suffer, allow or permit such dog to be within the city limits without the license tag issued for that dog, or without a collar or harness around its neck to which is attached the license tag issued pursuant to Section 8.12.030, except when the dog is securely contained in a motor vehicle or upon the owner’s or handler’s property.
C. It shall be rebuttably presumed that a person acting as a handler and weighing less than the weight of the dog being restrained lacks the physical capacity to restrain the dog and thereby prevent it from running at large.
D. “Handler” means any person in possession of an animal, or who is charged with or is exercising the care, control and custody of the animal. It includes the person who owns the animal when that person is exercising the care, custody and control of the animal.
E. “Owner” means a person or entity that has legal title to or the right to dispose of or euthanize an animal. The term may include any person who exercises apparent control or dominion over an animal to the exclusion of the rights or interest of others, even if there is no documentation establishing a legally protected or protectible property right of that person in that animal.
Oceanside Leash Laws
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having in his control or custody any dog, whether licensed or unlicensed, or any exotic animal (as defined in section 4.6.1), to permit or allow such dog or exotic animal to run at large on any public or private street, alley, park, square, place, or vacant or unenclosed lot or land within the city, other than those of the person having charge, custody or possession of such dog or exotic animal.
(b) A dog shall be considered “at large” for the purposes of subdivision (a) unless such dog is securely restrained by a substantial leash not exceeding six (6) feet in length and is in charge and control of a person competent to keep the animal under effective control.
San Marcos Leash Laws
(a) An owner of an animal shall at all times prevent the animal from being at large, as defined in Section 6.04.020 of this Code. An owner of an animal that is lawfully on any private property shall at all times keep the animal: (i) on a leash as defined by Section 6.04.020 of this Code; (ii) on tether; (iii) on electronic pet containment system; (iv) under direct and effective voice control/command; and/or (v) in a building or enclosure that is adequate to ensure the physical confinement of the animal and meets humane standards. Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) The Animal Control Authority may attempt to capture any animal found to be at large, and may seize, impound, abate and/or destroy the animal if, in the Animal Control Authority’s judgment, such action is necessary in the interest of the animal or public health, safety or welfare. The Animal Control Authority shall not seize or impound any animal found to be at large that has strayed from, but then has been returned to the private property of its owner, but in such case, the Animal Control Authority may issue a citation against the owner of the at large animal.
Santee Leash Laws
6.10.080 – Restraint of dogs required.
A. A dog owner or custodian or a person who has control of a dog must prevent the dog from being at large, except as provided in subsections B and D.
B. A dog owner or custodian who has direct and effective voice control over a dog to ensure that it does not violate any law, may allow a dog to be unrestrained by a leash while a dog is assisting an owner or custodian who is: (1) legally hunting; (2) legally herding livestock; or (3) on public property with the written permission of and for the purposes authorized by the agency responsible for regulating the use of the property.
C. A dog owner or custodian or a person having control of a dog that is lawfully on private property must keep the dog: (1) leashed or tethered as allowed under Health and Safety Code Section 122335; (2) under direct and effective control by voice or electronic pet containment system; or (3) in a building or enclosure that is adequate to ensure the physical confinement of the dog and that also meets standards in this title or otherwise required by law. An animal is not considered leashed if the leash is not in the hand of a person capable of controlling the animal or if the person is not actually controlling the animal attached to the leash.