TYLER, Texas — It’s almost springtime, the perfect time to emerge from your home for a nice walk with your dog. The City of Tyler is using this time to remind residents of the city's leash laws.
The City of Tyler has a leash law that requires all animals to be secured when out and about.
“Especially at the parks, that's where the people and animals are gathered,” said Shawn Markmann, Tyler Animal Control and Shelter director.
If someone is caught without keeping a pet on a leash, it can be a citation from $25 to $500.
There is one way around Tyler’s leash law. If a dog can demonstrate strong voice commands, then there will not be a citation issued.
“You have to be able to demonstrate that you can call your dog and it comes back. The law says to heel beside or be obedient to a person,” Markmann explained. “Most dogs can’t.”
Markmann says the purpose of having this law is for pet safety.
“There’s kids, and squirrels, and cars, and airplanes, and, you know butterflies, whatever, and [pets] get distracted,” Markmann said. “This dog could run out into the road because it doesn’t have the boundaries of the park. Dogs don’t have a clue of that.”
The law also helps protect other animals in case something goes wrong like if a dog bites another dog. Markmann says in that situation, the animals are treated as property and the police or animal control will respond and a citation could be issued.
“We’ll take the report, we’ll check proof of rabies vaccination on both dogs,” said Marksmann.
However, if a dog bites a person, it is Texas state law to take away the pet possibly for good.
“There's a mandatory 10-day observation period and that's for human safety," Markmann explained.
The leash law applies at apartment complexes, neighborhoods or anywhere outside of a fenced backyard. However, dogs at dog parks, including inside of an apartment complex, do not have to be kept secured.