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What Do Colorado’s Leash Laws Mean for You and Your Pets?

Posted on: December 5th, 2019

We deal with a lot of personal injury cases, and dog bite-related cases are chief among them. Often, when someone comes to us with a personal injury involving a dog bite, there are a number of questions about liability – what is and isn’t possible. In order to answer this, the particulars of each individual case must be considered. But something we always look at when the victim has been bitten by a dog are the leash laws in their area. It’s important to know – for your protection, and for the overall safety of Colorado. So let’s look a little closer.

Leash Law Basics

If you’re looking for an overarching rule you can count on, unfortunately, there isn’t one. At least not in Colorado. The state as a whole doesn’t have a leash law in place, but many counties and cities within the state do. And, though there isn’t a statewide leash law, there is a statewide requirement that dogs be under the control of an owner at all times. If you’re wondering how this differs from a leash law, it comes down to obedience. If a dog can reliably be called back or ordered away from dangerous behavior by their owner, they are likely considered compliant with the statewide requirements.

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City to City

Because the state government left the decision on leash laws up to municipalities, you’ll find variances throughout the state. We would never expect you to memorize them all, but if there are places you frequent or frequent with your dog, we recommend you brush up on the laws to that specific area. It helps to have a better idea of your rights in any situation, especially when personal injury is involved. For example, in Denver dogs cannot legally run around off-leash unless they are in a designated, enclosed off-leash area and are under the supervision of an owner or keeper who is at least 18 years of age. In Englewood, on the other hand, dogs are considered to be “at-large” if they are off the physical premises of their owner and not under direct physical control.

The “One Bite Rule”

A common law rule that is often utilized by dog owners is the One Bite Rule. It allows owners to assume that their dog is not dangerous because of a single bite unless the dog also exhibits aggressive behavior. However, if the “one bite” results in serious bodily harm, it is unlikely that the One Bite Rule will hold up in court. The owner will almost always be held liable for the actions of their animal when a bite results in serious bodily harm.

Dealing with a dog bite is a frightening time that leaves people with a lot of questions. We hope that this overview of Colorado’s leash laws can help answer a few. If you’re wondering what your options are in the wake of being a dog bite victim or another personal injury, we can help. Call today to discuss the particulars of your case, completely risk-free.

Brian Pushchak | Personal Injury Law Firm Denver, CO
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