Jul 7 2008
10:55 am
By: bizgrrl  shortURL

In response to this recent KNS letter to the editor (scroll down), Knox County and the City of Knoxville both have leash laws.

"I was at Sequoyah Park on May 2, running my two little dogs as I and hundreds of others have done for generations."

Is he sure about the "generations" part?

It was not long ago the KNS reported on the crack-down on dogs off-leash at Sequoyah Park. Shouldn't people generally assume there are leash laws until determined otherwise?

Carole Borges's picture

Should people assume there are leash laws?

I don't think so because Knoxville is one of the most hostile cities I've lived in when it comes to unleashed dogs. Maybe it's because we seem to have a huge population of bad dog owners that cause sensational news stories to occur reguarly. Most places I've lived are very lenient. Even if they have leash laws they seldom enforce them. A well behaved dog under a responsible master or mistresses control is not a hazard to anyone. The last town I lived the officals did insist unleashed dogs couldn't be on the beach between June and September because it was just too crowded. Same thing in Florida, but no one got all upset if our dog followed us around the block or to the store without a leash on. In Key West dogs were welcome even at the fancy Louie's Backyard restaurant. They also had a "dog beach" next door. So I don't think it is normal to assume every place you go leash laws exist. Fortunately, Knoxville has a couple of dog parks so there is at least a place where doggies can do their doggy things unfettered. Chaining dogs up night and day that aren't socialized or trained in obedience often creates a dangerous animal . They doesn't trust people or other animals, so they sometimes feel afraid and attack.

bizgrrl's picture

I haven't found it the case

I don't think dogs are allowed on the majority of beaches in Florida. I have found that just about everything is different in Key West, as it should be.

Bigmama's picture


Lady, hostile is when dog owners think they can just let their dogs do whatever they please because they think their dog won't bite. You may be willing to take the chance, but you don't have the right to put others at risk. There are too many stories of perfectly nice and gentle dogs turning on someone for no apparent reason for you to be that ignorant. A dog park and a dog beach are just that, for dogs. If people go to them then they are apparently willing to take the risk of being around unleashed dogs and take the chance. I worked in the court system for years and they are full of cases of dog owners who didn't think their dog would bite whomever they bit because they had never done it before.

djuggler's picture

I thought the leash law read

I thought the leash law read that "you have to have control of your animal" which meant that if you tell your dog to sit and it sits, and you tell your dog to come and it comes, then you are abiding by the leash law. Animals need to run and be exercised. A dog should be able to run in a park and catch a frisbee or swim in a lake.

My dog is obedient. At Admiral Farragut, I had her off leash and an officer came around. I called her to me and commanded her to sit by my side. He waved and went on. And that's how it should be.

Now I need to go read the actual law and see what it says.

Doug McCaughan

Rachel's picture

Sec. 5-8. Restraint of

Sec. 5-8. Restraint of animals.
Every person owning or having possession, charge, care, custody or control of any animal shall keep such animal exclusively upon his own premises; provided, however, that such animal may be off such premises if it is under the control of a competent person and restrained by a chain, leash or other means of visible control.

Section 5-7, COK Ordinances.

CLK's picture

Obedient dogs

There is a BIG difference between a dog being obedient and a dog being controlled. Controlled means that you actually have a leash/chain attached to the dog's collar in case the dog is frightened/prodded, etc. by someone/something and does happen to disobey. If you don't have the dog CONTROLLED not meaning obedient, but under control and it does happen to disobey and hurt/bite anyone/any other ARE LIABLE

bill young's picture

TCA 44-8-408

This,in effect,is a state leash law.I understand that it only says it is unlawful for a dog owner to allow their dog
to "run at large".

One person's "run at large" may not be another person's "run at large".However,having a dog on a leash will never be defined as running at large.

CLK's picture

Run at large

Run at large means NOT being leashed

Justin's picture

I love dogs...I just dont

I love dogs...I just dont love the dogs that want to attack me when I run on the blvd or when walking my smaller dogs. I dont have a problem with the leash law. You can complain all you want about your dog wanting to be free while running and jumping in slow motion to 'Chariots of Fire' but I dont want your damn dog running loose near me or my leashed dogs. If it is that big of an issue to some of you, petition the city Council to close off a large part of the park and turn it into a dog park.

Tess's picture

I totally agree with you

I have two old dogs that are always on leash. They don't like dogs running up to them. They just don't. Both go into high alert barking, defense mode. They are old, and I am not young enough to deal with your dog as well as my two on leash.

So, if yours is off leash, don't let it run up to mine. They don't want to play. They just want a little exercise.

Also, I have had to take my little one to the vet TWICE when somebody else's dog ran up to us and my dog then went ballistic and in the excitement then got bit by YOUR dog who was off leash.

Sherry's picture


I totally agree that ALL dogs should be on leashes in public. Just about an hour and a half ago I was walking down the street in my neighborhood with my 6 month old and my 8 year old. I am still shaking from the dog that ran towards us barking and growling and crouching like it was going to attack us. I have had dogs bark at me before, but I truly felt as if my children and myself were in eminent danger. I immediately stopped grabbed my son by the arm and said don't look at it. We froze for a moment as I tried to be calm, and get away while not provoking it. As we slowly turned around I kept a watch on the dog who was still growling and began to run towards us again. This is all in my own neighborhood where my child and other children play all the time. I shutter to think of what could have happened if my son had been up ahead of me, or the dog had gone for my 6 month old. This was totally unprovoked! To beat all this dog had a collar on, so it is someones pet. Those of us who choose not to be dog owner should not be subject to those of you who do. I am so tired of dog owners believing that just because the dog is nice to them that it will act the same all the time. I am actually a dog lover, but recognize that they are still animals and can be unpredictable. You are naive if you think otherwise. And for one, I really could care less what the law is in other cities. The law here is that your dog is to be on a leash. Like it or lump it, you choose to live here, you should obey the law.

bizgrrl's picture

It is intereting this is

It is intereting this is being brought up at this time. I was thinking of putting flyers out for residents of a neighborhood in Knox County that I visit often asking them to keep their dogs leashed, fenced or in the house. If, after a certain time, the dogs are still running loose I will contact animal control. A lot of elderly people live in this neighborhood and walking is great exercise if it is safe.

Anonymous's picture

Friendly dogs.....

Well, how does this fit into this argument....people who are either terrified of dogs (as am I since I was attacked years ago) or just don't like them or maybe they do like them (but not jumping on them and licking them)....and let's say we're walking in the Sequoyah area and dogs run up to jump on us, or better yet are on those leashes that the master can push a button and let the leash go longer....they jump up on us and the response is "oh, don't worry,he's/she's friendly." All this happens as we have to move off the road or path because of the unleashed dog or dog whose owner just pushed the button to let them go longer.......

Where does this fit? All dogs need to be on a leash (unless they are in your fenced yard or a dog park) and the leash CONTROLLED by the owner.

Tess's picture

Okay, now I'm on a roll

Most of the folks that bring their off-leash dogs to the Sequoyah Park are UT students. I will go further on a limb and say that most of these people have at least two dogs, one or more of which are usually pit bulls. I guess to some folks, that is a small dog.

I have quit going to the park because of the off- leash dogs.

I agree with the crackdown on the people who let their dogs run loose.

I also agree that if the city wants to make part of the park off-leash, I will not go into that part of the park. I will peacefully walk my dogs in the remainder of the park.

redmondkr's picture

Gino and I walk at Victor

Gino and I walk at Victor Ashe Park pretty regularly and I often see dogs "at large" with their owners seemingly oblivious to the possible consequences. That scares me and we give them a wide berth.

That leash is as much for your dog's protection as it is for that of the other park users.

Gino is obedient, well socialized, and always on a leash in public but he is big. If an unfettered dog decides he wants a piece of him, he will defend himself and it would be foolish to try to intervene.

I recently lost his little sister because a friend failed to control her when she was young and she romped into the path of a car. Five years and five expensive surgical procedures later she died of bone cancer that started in her injured leg.

Visit us at

The Home

Shannon's picture

Leash laws aren't just to

Leash laws aren't just to protect humans. They're also meant to protect the dogs themselves. It is very difficult to train a dog to do a complete stop and recall, meaning that the dog is running towards something it's interested in, you call its name, it stops immediately and returns to you. A dog running at Sequoyah Park can very easily run out into traffic or just run off and get lost.

Knox County does have a nice fenced dog park. Yes, it's all the way over near Lovell Road, but I live in Halls and drive there to give my dogs a chance to run and socialize with other dogs. There are plans for more dog parks on my end of town.

Personally, I'd be a bundle of nerves letting my dogs run off leash without a fence. I don't see how otherwise responsible pet owners are OK with taking that kind of chance. Unless you've practiced the stop and recall over and over and are absolutely sure your dog will return every time, you're gambling with your dog's life letting them off leash without a fence.

Michael's picture

In addition to the ordinance

In addition to the ordinance Rachel cited, the city also has requires an annual license for dogs. The cost is nominal and the fees are earmarked for the Animal Control unit. As enforcement is nearly non-existant, I regard it as a voluntary tax. But I encourage those who want to see our city as a good environment for dogs to request these from their vets.

The city is very lax when it comes to enforcing its leash laws. And I worry that it's only a matter of time before something happens to focus attention on this. This is a city, not a countryside. And these laws are not for the benefit of animals, but for public safety.

KO's picture

Against my better judgment,

Against my better judgment, I'm going to step into this fray. I live in Sequoyah. I run the Boulevard every day without exception. My dogs play in the park every day without exception, usually off leash. I have never had a problem with my dogs or other dogs nor have I ever witnessed a problem/attack/issue with any dogs whatsoever. While I assume the occasional incident happens (just as it does with anything, including dogs on leashes), I do not think there is any widespread problem that justifies the application of scarce law enforcement resources. Relax a little. It's a huge park.

Tess's picture

It is huge

And, it should be big enough for everybody to enjoy it. I propose keeping off leash dogs on one end or another and not roaming the whole park. How does that sound?

Sherry's picture

It may be a huge park, but

It may be a huge park, but dogs run fast and it is a much bigger problem than you realize. Here is a little information for you from (link...)

Dog Bite Law

The most recent official survey, conducted more than a decade ago, determined there were 4.7 million dog bite victims annually in the USA. A more recent study showed that 1,000 Americans per day are treated in emergency rooms as a result of dog bites. In 2010 there were 34 fatal dog attacks in the USA. Most of the victims who receive medical attention are children, half of whom are bitten in the face. Dog bite losses exceed $1 billion per year, with over $300 million paid by homeowners insurance.

* The dog bite epidemic: a primer
* Canine homicides and the dog bite epidemic: do not confuse them
* The dogs most likely to kill
* Children are the most frequent victims
* The face is the most frequent target

God forbid that you take the chance of letting your dog run loose and it maims some poor kid for the rest of their life.

Carole Borges's picture

I was talking about a Massachusetts beach

The Massachusetts town I lived in let dogs run on the beach during the late fall and winter months, just not in the summer. I don't know about other Florida cities, but in Hollywood Fl. our dogs always followed us around, went with us to the store and waited outside, etc., but they never jumped on anyone and always stopped and waited for us before they crossed any street (because we taught them to do that) and in spite of temptation could be counted on to come or stay on command.

I only meant to point out that some unleashed dogs really are never going to do anything that would annoy even a person who hates dogs or is terrified of them.

Because we live in a crowded environment with a variety of people with different attitudes toward dogs, it seems to me we dog owners should be okay with having to keep them on leashes, but it sure would be nice to have a fenced-in forest area for unleashed dogs and people to run or jog together.

StaceyDiamond's picture


I'm so glad they are finally cracking down on this, because I like to go to the park. What a few years ago was a nice place for a picnic (Sequoyah Park) has become a free for all for Mastiffs and Great Danes. I've seen people there have to pull their kids up to get them out of the way of a big dog. Once when a dog was trying to take my lunch, I argued with a girl who told me I was in a "dog park." Some people really think Sequoyah is the actual dog park like Victor Ahe Park. I dislike big dogs running free because I've been chased by them too many times, yet some dogs and owners there are polite.
Another problem in other neighborhoods are urban rednecks who tie pit bulls to trees all day or leave them inside tiny fenced in places, I fear what would happen should some of these angry dogs escape.

virgoan's picture

cats and leash law

OK so how do people feel about cats and the leash law? My cat is neutered so he isn't at risk of impregnating another cat and thus increasing the population of unwanted cats. He is a hunter and likes to catch his own food sometimes. He is litter box trained and does use his box when indoors. Has anyone seen or do they know of anybody who leashes their cat?

StaceyDiamond's picture


My cats used a leash as a kitten . Now he is neutered and indoor/outdoor.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is used to make sure you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.


TN Progressive

TN Politics

Knox TN Today

Local TV News

News Sentinel

State News

Local .GOV

State .GOV

Wire Reports

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding. (Source)

Monthly archive