Dog leash laws in Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas's dog leash laws are meant in part to prevent dog bites and the inevitable Nevada dog bite lawsuits. The general rule throughout the state is that dogs must be leashed at all times unless the dog is at a residence or a dog park.

Nevada's cities and counties typically treat failure to use a dog leash as a civil infraction carrying a small fine. But this offense is technically a misdemeanor in Nevada that could carry high fines and jail time. 

In this article, our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys discuss dog leash laws in Clark County and throughout Nevada:

dogs on leashes
In Nevada, dogs are required to be kept on leashes when out in public (other than in dog parks).

1. Dog leash laws and penalties in Nevada

In general, dogs must be kept on leashes in Nevada whenever they are out in public. The only exception is dog parks or certain rural areas.

Leashes are also required in HOA communities whether or not they are gated: Once the dog enters a communal area such as the sidewalk, a leash becomes necessary.

Even hunting with unleashed dogs is unlawful in Nevada if the dog is pursuing:

  • big game mammals (other than mountain lions); or
  • any wildlife in a state-owned wildlife management area1

Dog leash laws are regulated mostly at the county- and city-level rather than the state level. So always check the local rules before taking out your dog in Nevada:

1.1. Clark County dog leash laws (unincorporated area, including the Strip)

Clark County Code 10.36.040 makes it a misdemeanor to willfully take a dog in public without a leash.2 The penalties include:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

There are special rules on the Strip between Sahara Avenue and Sunset Road: Dogs are completely prohibited -- even with a leash -- between 5 a.m. and 12 noon. The only exception is service animals.3

1.2. Las Vegas dog leash laws (incorporated area, including Downtown)

Las Vegas Municipal Code 7.36.030 makes it a misdemeanor to willfully take a dog in public without a leash.4

In most cases, the city elects to impose a civil penalty instead of a criminal charge on the defendant. These civil "infractions" typically carry just a small fine. 

But if the defendant does get charged with a misdemeanor, he or she faces the following sentence for a first-time conviction:

  • 2 days to 6 months in jail (which may be served intermittently in no less than four-hour spans),
  • 48 to 120 hours of community service, and
  • $200 to $1,000 in fines

Meanwhile, a second-time offense within seven years of the first carries:

  • 10 days to 6 months in jail,
  • 100 to 200 hours of community service, and
  • $500 to $1,000 in fines5

1.3. Henderson dog leash laws (incorporated area)

Henderson Municipal Code 7.08.020 makes it a misdemeanor to take a dog in public without a leash. The penalties carry:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

Furthermore, the city can impound an "at large" dog for at least 72 hours at the Henderson Animal Care and Control Facility, 300 E Galleria. The owner can reclaim the dog by showing proof of ownership (or a Henderson animal license) as well as proof of current rabies vaccination.6

1.4. North Las Vegas dog leash laws (incorporated area)

North Las Vegas Municipal Code 6.08.060 makes it a misdemeanor to take a dog in public without a leash. The penalties carry:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

Furthermore, the city can impound an "at large" dog for at least 72 hours. The owner can reclaim the dog by showing proof of ownership and paying $25, plus boarding costs.7

North Las Vegas also specifically prohibits dogs to go without a leash in a mobile home park or recreational vehicle park.8

Finally, North Las Vegas permits people to take out "dangerous" dogs in public only if the owner keeps the dog leashed, muzzled, and under an adult's control.9 (Read more about dangerous dogs in our article on Las Vegas dog bite laws.)

dog on leash leading blind man
Service dogs are permitted on the Las Vegas Strip at all times, but they must be on a leash.

1.5. Washoe County dog leash laws (including Reno)

Washoe County Code 55.100 mandates that dogs have leashes while out in public if the location fits the legal definition of "congested." In other words, these leash laws do not apply to rural areas.10

To check if your address is considered a contested area, click here for the Washoe County Regional Mapping System.

Not leashing a dog while out in public is a misdemeanor, carrying:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

However, the county may elect to issue a civil fine instead of a criminal citation. The fine increases with each successive infraction:

Dog leash infraction in Washoe County

Civil fine

First offense

$100

Second offense

$200

Third or subsequent offense

$400

However, it may be possible to contest this fine at an administrative hearing.11

1.6. Nye County dog leash laws (including Pahrump)

Nye County makes it a misdemeanor to take a dog out in public without a leash.

Not leashing a dog while out in public is a misdemeanor, carrying:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines12

2. Suing for not using a dog leash in Nevada

One purpose behind leash laws is to help prevent dogs from running amok and biting people.

People who have been bitten by an unleashed dog may be able to sue the dog owner for negligence per se in Nevada. In order to prove negligence per se, the plaintiff (victim) would need to show the following:

  1. the defendant violated a law (such as the local leash law);
  2. this law was meant to protect people like the plaintiff; and
  3. the defendant's violation caused the plaintiff's injuries13

People who have been bitten by a leashed dog can still sue the owner, but bringing a straight negligence claim in Nevada might be more successful. The plaintiff would need to show the following to prove a negligence claim: 

  1. the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (such as controlling his or her dog);
  2. the defendant breached this duty of care (by letting the dog bite the plaintiff); and
  3. the defendant's breach caused the plaintiff's injuries14

Depending on the case, plaintiffs may be able to recover such Nevada compensatory damages as:

If the defendant acted especially recklessly, the plaintiff may even be able to win Nevada punitive damages as well.

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Call a Nevada personal injury attorney...

If you have been injured by a dog in Nevada, contact our Las Vegas dog bite lawyers for a free consultation at 702-333-3673. We will fight for the largest possible settlement, and in most cases we can achieve a favorable resolution with the minimum of litigation.

Also see our article on the Nevada crime of keeping a vicious dog (NRS 202.500).


Legal References

  1.  NRS 503.631  Dogs running at large: Unlawful to permit tracking, harassing or killing of big game mammal.

          1.  Except as otherwise provided in NRS 503.150, it is unlawful for the owner of any dog to permit such dog to run at large if such dog is actively tracking, pursuing, harassing, attacking or killing any big game mammal within this State.

          2.  Any such dog running at large may be destroyed by any peace officer without criminal or civil liability therefor.


    NRS 503.636  Dogs running at large: Unlawful to permit tracking, harassing or killing of wildlife in state-owned area for management of wildlife.

          1.  It is unlawful for the owner of any dog to permit such dog to run at large if such dog is actively tracking, pursuing, harassing, attacking or killing any wildlife in a state-owned wildlife management area, as provided in NRS 504.143.

          2.  Any such dog running at large may be destroyed by any peace officer, without criminal or civil liability therefor.

    NRS 503.150  Manner of hunting game birds or mammals: Unlawful acts; carrying of certain handguns lawful during certain seasons.

          1.  Unless otherwise specified by Commission regulation, it is unlawful to hunt:

          (a) Any game bird or game mammal with any gun capable of firing more than one round with one continuous pull of the trigger, or with any full steel, full steel core, full metal jacket, tracer or incendiary bullet or shell, or any shotgun larger than number 10 gauge.

          (b) Big game mammals in any manner other than with a rifle, held in the hand, that exerts at least 1,000 foot-pounds of energy at 100 yards, or with a longbow and arrow which meet the specifications established by Commission regulation.

          (c) Small game mammals in any manner other than with a handgun, shotgun, rifle, longbow and arrow or by means of falconry.

          (d) Game birds with any rifle or handgun, or in any manner other than with a shotgun held in the hand, with a longbow and arrow or by means of falconry.

          (e) Migratory game birds with any shotgun capable of holding more than three shells.

          (f) Any game bird or game mammal with the aid of any artificial light.

          (g) Any big game mammal, except mountain lions, with a dog of any breed.

          2.  A person who is hunting during any period of an open season during which hunting is restricted to the use of only archery equipment or a muzzle-loading firearm:

          (a) May carry for self-defense a handgun that:

                 (1) Has a barrel length of less than 8 inches; and

                 (2) Does not have a telescopic sight.

          (b) May not use the handgun carried pursuant to paragraph (a) to hunt any wildlife.

          3.  Nothing in this section prohibits the use of dogs in the hunting of game birds or small game mammals.

  2. Clark County Code 10.36.040 - Restraint and sanitation.
     

    (a) No person owning or having possession of any animal other than a cat, shall cause, permit or allow the animal to stray, run or in any manner be at large.

    (b) Every person who is the owner of any unsterilized dog or cat as permitted by Chapter 10.08, and keeps the same upon his premises under his control, shall keep the animal restrained by a fence, cage, coop, chain, leash or other adequate means so that the unsterilized dog or cat shall not leave or escape from the premises upon which it shall be kept.

    Clark County Code 10.04.100 - At large.
     

    "At large" means location on any property when an animal is not restrained by leash, cord, chain or enclosure, except as otherwise expressly allowed by law, such as for law enforcement, herding, or hunting.

    (a) "At large" includes, without limitation, location:

    (i) Upon any real property, whether that of the owner, custodian, or other person, when the animal is not restrained, confined, or permitted by the lawful occupant;

    (ii) With attempted restraint by voice command only, or any tethering or enclosure not providing restraint, or any tethering in a public area without attendance of the owner or custodian; or

    (iii) Without restraint within private areas accessible by the general public or a considerable number of persons, regardless of enclosure, such as common areas of common interest communities or other privately owned public structures, such as stores and restaurants.

    (b) "At large" does not include location:

    (i) On a property where the animal is permitted by the lawful occupant within an exclusive access enclosed structure, such as a house, automobile, or adequately fenced yard; or

    (ii) Inside a designated dog run portion of a public or private park that is enclosed by a fence and provided with signage warning of unleashed animals, which is separated by a fence or other physical barrier from other areas of the park containing amenities for use other than as a dog park.

    Clark County Code 10.40.040 - Violation—Penalty.
     

    (a) Any person owning, possessing or having the care, custody and control of an animal, who willfully refuses, fails or neglects to:

    (1) Furnish to the animal control officer or director of the department of business license the required information as provided herein;

    (2) Cause the animals to be registered and pay the registration fee at the time and in the manner herein provided; or

    (3) Perform any act or pay any other fee or charge required by this title to be performed or paid; and

    (b) Any person who violates any of the provisions of this Title 10 shall, unless another penalty is otherwise provided for, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and may be fined or imprisoned as provided by law. A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues.

    Clark County Animal Control website.

  3. Clark County Code 10.39.010 - Prohibition on presence of animals.
     

    1. Animals are not be allowed in the restricted area of Las Vegas Boulevard South, except for exempted animals and as otherwise provided in this chapter.

    2. "Restricted area" means the public right-of-way, including but not limited to the public sidewalks, pedestrian bridges, and pedestrian bridge landings, and privately owned sidewalks, pedestrian bridges, and pedestrian bridge landings on which an easement has been granted to pedestrian traffic, situated along Las Vegas Boulevard South, from Sahara Avenue in the north to Sunset Road in the south, and on either side of Las Vegas Boulevard South for a distance of two hundred yards.

    3. "Exempted animals" shall include "service animals," as that term is defined by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, working animals being utilized by law enforcement officials in the course and scope of their official duties, and an animal whose possession in the restricted area is expressly or necessarily authorized by a parade permit, a special use permit, a business license, or other official written government action.

    4. Household pets, as that term is defined in Title 30 of this code but excluding any snakes which exceed two feet in length, may be present in the restricted area between 5:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon each day. Such pets must be on a leash or other restraint not exceeding three feet in length.

  4. Las Vegas Municipal Code 7.36.030 - At large.

    (A) Except as otherwise provided in Subsection (B), it is unlawful for the owner of an animal, or any person having possession, custody or control thereof, to allow the animal to be at large, as defined in Section 7.04.090.

    (B) Subsection (A) does not apply to any cat or the cat's owner unless the cat has an obvious injury or illness.

  5. Las Vegas Municipal Code 7.44.040 - Unlawful acts designated—Penalty.
     

    (A) Any person owning, possessing or having the care, custody and control of any animal, who:

    (1) Wilfully refuses, fails or neglects to furnish to the Animal Regulation Officer or an Animal Control Officer the information required under this Title;

    (2) Wilfully refuses, fails or neglects to cause said animals to be registered and pay said registration fee at the time and in the manner herein provided;

    (3) Wilfully refuses, fails or neglects to perform any act or pay any other fee or charge required by this Title to be performed or paid;

    (4) Resists, interferes with or prevents the Animal Regulation Officer or an Animal Control Officer in the exercise of their duties; or

    (5) Violates any of the provisions of Chapters 7.04 to 7.44,

    is guilty of a misdemeanor.

    (B) Any person who violates any provision of Section 7.32.010, Section 7.32.030, Section 7.32.120 or Section 7.32.130 is guilty of a misdemeanor and:

    (1) For the first offense within the immediately preceding seven years, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two days nor more than six months; the performance of community service of not less than forty-eight hours nor more than one hundred twenty hours, and a fine of not less than two hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars. A term of imprisonment imposed pursuant to this paragraph may be served intermittently at the discretion of the judge, except that each period of confinement must be not less than four consecutive hours and must occur at a time when the person is not required to be at his place of employment or on a weekend;

    (2) For the second offense or subsequent offense within the immediately preceding seven years, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than ten days nor more than six months; the performance of community service of not less than one hundred hours nor more than two hundred hours, and a fine of not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars.

    (C) In addition to any other fine or penalty provided in Subsection (B), a person who violates any provision of Section 7.32.010 or Section 7.32.130 shall be ordered to pay restitution for all costs associated with the care and impoundment of any mistreated animal, including without limitation money expended for veterinary treatment, feed and housing.

    (D) In connection with the imposition of any sentence pursuant to this Section, the court may order the defendant to surrender ownership or possession of the mistreated animal.

    (E) If a person who owns, possesses or has custody, care and control of an animal resists, interferes with or prevents the Animal Regulation Officer or an Animal Control Officer in the exercise of their duties, or violates any of the provisions of Chapters 7.04 to 7.44, inclusive, the animal may be impounded in accordance with the provisions of this Title.

    (F) The City is authorized to treat a violation of the following provisions of this Title as a civil infraction, which shall then subject the violator to a civil penalty in accordance with the provisions of Sections 7.44.060 to 7.44.120, inclusive:

    ...

    (10) Section 7.36.030 (relating to animals at large), if the violation is witnessed by the Animal Regulation Officer or an Animal Control Officer;

  6. Henderson Municipal Code 7.08.020 - Animals at large.

    It shall be unlawful for any person having charge, custody or control of any animal to permit the same to be at large or trespass on the private premises of another, or to be on any public highway, street, alley, court, public ground, or unfenced lot. All animals must be confined to the owners' property or shall be on a leash when on any public property, any highway, street, alley, court, park, public ground, fenced lot or wash. Leash requirements do not apply to designated enclosed areas of animal parks or animals participating in sanctioned performance events.

    Henderson Municipal Code 7.90.010 - Generally.
     

    Unless another penalty is expressly provided herein or by law, every person convicted of a violation of any provisions of this title shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or by imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or by any combination of such fine and imprisonment.

    Henderson Animal Control website.

  7. North Las Vegas Municipal Code 6.08.060 - Running at Large

    A. It is unlawful for any person owning or possessing any animal to permit the same to run at large or trespass on any public or private property.

    B. Any animal running at large or not restrained as required by this title shall be impounded and kept at an animal shelter for a period of at least seventy-two (72) hours.

    C. Any animal impounded pursuant to this section may be reclaimed within seventy-two (72) hours upon:

    1. Proof of ownership or lawful possession, and

    2. Payment of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) plus the daily cost of boarding.

    For purposes of this section, "daily cost of boarding" means the average daily cost to the City to board and maintain impounded animals. This cost shall be calculated by the Animal Control Manager at least once a year and the basis for the calculation shall be published in a memorandum, approved by the City Council and made available for public inspection and copying.

    D. Any sick or injured animal impounded pursuant to this section may be euthanized at any time after impoundment, if, in the professional judgment of a veterinarian, inhumane suffering may be prevented thereby.

    E. If any animal is unclaimed by its owner for seventy-two (72) hours after being impounded, the animal shall be released to and become the property of the contracted animal shelter. Any charges, fees or costs incurred by the contracted animal shelter beyond the hold period set forth in Section 6.08.060 B. shall be the responsibility of the animal's owner, and the City shall not be liable for any such charges, fees or costs.

    North Las Vegas Municipal Code 6.16.050 - Penalty.
     

    Any person who violates the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor as set forth in Section 6.06.050 of this title.

    North Las Vegas Animal Control website.

  8. North Las Vegas Municipal Code 15.68.060 - Minimum property development standards and procedures for recreational vehicle parks. ...

    P. Animals Running-At-Large Prohibited. Dogs or other animals at no time shall be permitted to run-at-large in any recreational vehicle park. All animals shall be on a leash and the owners of said animals shall keep the recreational vehicle site sanitary at all times.

    North Las Vegas Municipal Code 15.64.120 - Operation and supervision. Not permit any domestic animal in the park unless the animal is kept on a leash at all times;

  9. North Las Vegas Municipal Code 6.10.070 - Dangerous Animals—Ownership Permitted in Limited Circumstances.At no time shall the animal be allowed to leave the private property confines of the owner or person in charge of the animal unless it is muzzled, leashed and under the effective control of an adult.
  10. Washoe County Code 55.100 - Restraining animals.
     

    1. In the congested areas, each person who has the care, custody or control of any livestock, domestic animal or exotic animal, must keep the animal restrained by a fence, cage, coop, chain, tether, leash or other adequate means so that the animal shall not leave the premises upon which it is kept.

    2. In the congested areas, it is unlawful for the owner of any dog to allow the dog to be in a public area unless the dog is on a leash. This provision does not apply to special areas that may be designated for training programs, dog shows or dog parks.

    Washoe County Animal Control website.

  11. Washoe County Code 55.800 Penalties.

    1. Except when a civil penalty is imposed pursuant to NRS 244.359 as provided below, any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months, or by a fine of not less than $50 or more than $1,000, or by both fine and imprisonment. Failure to appear in the proper court to answer to such misdemeanor citation is a separate offense.
    2. Each day that a violation occurs constitutes a separate offense.
    3. For any second conviction for violation of the same provision of this chapter, such person violating that provision shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months, or by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, or both fine and imprisonment.
    4. In lieu of all or part of the criminal penalty which may be imposed pursuant to this section, the convicted person may be sentenced to perform a fixed period of community service pursuant to the conditions prescribed by law.
    5. Except as prohibited by NRS 244.359, and in lieu of any criminal penalty which may be imposed for the violation(s) of any ordinance enacted pursuant to NRS 244.359(3), a civil penalty in favor of the county may be imposed in an amount not to exceed $500. ...

    12. Liability.  The owner of an animal is liable for all of the civil penalties which are imposed pursuant to this chapter. The following civil penalties are hereby authorized by the Board of County Commissioners:    (
    a)  For the first NCP relating to an ordinance: $100.00   
    (b)  For second or subsequent NCPs issued for the same ordinance, as follows:    
    (1)  Second NCP - $200.00    
    (2)  Third or subsequent NCP - $400.00 

  12. Nye County Animal Services website.
  13. Barnes v. Delta Lines, Inc, 99 Nev. 688, 669 P.2d 709 (Nev. 1983); Nevada Jury Instructions 4.12.
  14. Turner v. Mandalay Sports Entertainment, 124 Nev. 213, 180 P.3d 1172 (2008).

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