Animal Rescue New Orleans: For everyone’s safety - The why and how of leashes

Leash laws exist in every parish and require owners to leash their pooch in public. Dogs outside of their own, fenced private property must be on a leash. The exception is fenced dog parks, but even in official dog parks there are rules.

If your dog is not socialized, or likes some dogs and not others, it should not be off leash under any circumstances, not even in a dog park. An altercation between your pet and another animal or a human could result in costly litigation. At the least it could result in your being required to carry a liability policy on your dog, or your dog being deemed dangerous. Dangerous dog labels have far-reaching results, some of which may force you to move to keep your dog. They can also result in having to euthanize your dog.

What kind of leash should you use? First, throw away those retractable leashes! They teach your dog that it is in control, not you. Retractable leashes are dangerous. If you drop a retractable leash and the dog takes off, the noise of that plastic part drumming behind them just keeps it running. The “ribbon” leash can snap and the dog is gone. There are horror stories involving these leashes. Get rid of them!

Purchase a good quality half-inch- to inch-wide leash, four to six feet in length. Larger dogs need shorter and thicker leashes for the handler to keep control. Smaller dogs take a leash half an inch wide, and always do best connected to a halter, not a collar. Put that leash handle around your wrist and you won’t accidentally lose your dog.

If your dog, no matter the size, lifts its lip and snarls or nips at strangers or other dogs passing them on a walk, then put a muzzle on it. Do not take a chance that can put your dog, and another dog or human, in danger.

Upcoming events

SATURDAY: Noon to 4 p.m., PETCO Mega Adoption Day with dogs and puppies from ARNO and other rescue groups; 3520 Veterans Blvd., Metairie.

SATURDAY: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m;. LA/SPCA neighborhood adoption event at PETCO at 5300 Tchoupitoulas St., Uptown, and PETCO at 3018 Holiday Drive, Algiers.

Charlotte Bass Lilly is CEO of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a 501c3 nonprofit. ARNO operates a volunteer-based, no-kill shelter in Elmwood and depends upon the generosity of people who have followed since Hurricane Katrina. Contact ARNO at, or (504) 571-1900.