Generally speaking, if a dog is in its own yard and under the control of its owner, then it does not have to be leashed or fenced, so no, it is not a crime. If you live in a community with a homeowners' association its rules may be more stringent. No matter the breed and no matter how friendly you should NEVER allow your dog to approach a person or another dog (unless at a dog park) that it does not know off leash. It is simply asking for trouble.
It may be helpful if you had your dog certified as a therapy dog and/or as a canine good citizen. Then if people make comments you can say, politely and truthfully: "Buster is certified as a therapy dog and/or canine good citizen."
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I agree that it is most unfortunate that dogs are often discriminated against based on looks, personality or what have you, and that judgments (often wrong) are made about what breed the particular animal belongs to or doesn't. Its discrimination, plain and simple. That being said, however, don't invite trouble by having your dog off-leash in your front yard if it is unfenced or the dog is otherwise not contained. A dog could approach him in a threatening manner, and you may not have enough time to react to it and protect your dog and/or yourself from injury or even possibly death. So be a good neighbor and help your dog be a good canine citizen by following the visible standards of good etiquette when in the public eye or in public access: leash first, ask questions later. Best of luck!
This post should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.<br /> <a href="http://www.joanbundylaw.com" target="_blank">Joan M. Bundy, Attorney at Law, Chandler, Arizona</a> | Ask a similar question