City of Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Prohibits Use of Electronic Collars on Dogs as Form of Physical Restraint
The City of Alexandria has adopted an ordinance that excludes electronic collars and similar electronic devices as legal methods to physically restrain dogs in public. At its June 16 public hearing, Alexandria City Council voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance, which goes into effect on September 1.
The goal of the ordinance is to preserve public (and canine) safety in a densely-populated community where dogs are welcome just about everywhere. Additionally, Alexandria offers residents and visitors 18 fenced and unfenced dog exercise areas where dogs are not required to be leashed. Dog owners may use electronic collars and other training devices in these dog parks, at sanctioned obedience training classes and field trials, and on private property.
The ordinance to exclude electronic collars was first proposed by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) to City Council in November of 2011, and was passed unanimously at the November public hearing. After dog owners and local businesses raised concerns, Council rescinded the ordinance in December and requested that City staff and the AWLA work with citizens to discuss changes. Several public meetings were held, and City and AWLA staff revised the ordinance so that it would not pertain to dogs in off-leash dog parks and those participating in obedience training courses and field trials. The sale and use of electronic collars as a form of training will not be affected by the ordinance; however, all dogs must be restrained by a physical leash while in public.
With the ordinance going into effect September 1, Animal Control and City staff will be working to educate the public over the next few months. Animal control officers will be issuing warnings to dog owners without a physical leash on their dogs, and urging compliance between now and September. Beginning September 1, a dog in public wearing an electronic collar can be considered running at large, and the owner may be cited and fined up to $100.
More information on Alexandria’s ordinance requiring all dogs in public to be physically leashed is available at www.AlexandriaAnimals.org/e-collar.