Written by attorney Ryan John Stevens

The Dog Laws of Flagstaff: Unleashed

The Flagstaff City Code is a set of ordinances and laws that governs various topics within the jurisdiction of Flagstaff city limits. One section is dedicated entirely to man’s best four-legged friends: DOGS. While I would speculate that most dog-owners in Flagstaff regularly “violate" the Flagstaff laws on dogs, believe it or not, people actually get charged with criminal offenses for violating the dog laws of Flagstaff. For example, any dog off the premises of its owner must have a collar with a securely fastened government issued dog tag which costs $10 to $20, depending on if your dog is neutered or spayed. Here’s a taste of what the Flagstaff dog laws say about collars: “At all times when a dog is off the premises of its owner, said dog shall have a collar around its neck with the metal tag aforesaid securely fastened thereto." See Flagstaff City Code section 6-02-1-8. Most Flagstaff dog owners don’t know, or care, about the Flagstaff city government’s efforts to control and regulate all things relating to their dogs, including of course the “barking or howling dogs" ordinance. “It is unlawful for any person owning or having the care, custody or control of any dog to permit said dog to bark, bay, howl or make any other noise, day or night, in such an unreasonable manner as to disturb the peace and quiet of any person or persons." See Flagstaff City Code section 6-02-1-11(C). And then there’s dog bites and “vicious dogs." In Flagstaff, a “vicious dog" is defined in four ways: a. A dog that bites a human beings without provocation; or b. A dog with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to bite human beings; or c. A dog that while at large kills or causes injury to domestic animals; or d. A dog declared to be a vicious dog by a City Magistrate after a determination at a hearing of a pattern of aggressive behavior that has caused injury, apprehension or intimidation of a person. Basically, if your dog nips someone without provocation, you’ve got yourself a “vicious dog" that Flagstaff city law requires to be muzzled when off the premises of its owner. So if you take your dog on a walk, and it had nipped at someone in the past, then you have to muzzle it or else you’re guilty of violating Flagstaff city dog law. Here is what the Flagstaff city law says: “No person owning or having charge, care, custody, or control of a vicious dog shall permit such dog off his premises unless such dog is under the control of a competent person and is securely leashed and muzzled." See Flagstaff City Code section 6-02-1-1(B)(1). Violating Flagstaff city dog law is criminal in nature and involves court hearings, pre-trial conferences, plea negotiations, plea agreements, criminal restitution. Worst of all: the City of Flagstaff may kill your dog. That’s right, if your dog is found to be “vicious" by the government, they can order the humane destruction of your dog. They can kill your dog. If you have been cited by the Flagstaff police or Flagstaff City Attorney with any violation of the Flagstaff City Code, including the Flagstaff dog laws (failure to control dog; vicious dog; dog-at-large; failure to have a dog collar; etc.), call or email a qualified attorney for an evaluation of your case and unleash your best legal defenses. And always remember: one barking dog sets the whole street barking.

Additional resources provided by the author

Flagstaff City Code (see link below)

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