What are the Leash Laws in the Most Visited Missouri Parks?


dog and owner in park abiding by leash laws

As one of Missouri’s most popular pets, dogs are beloved members of our families and keep us company during many outdoor adventures. One place our dogs frequently visit is our state and county parks. While there are no statewide leash laws in Missouri, dog owners must follow the laws present in each park to keep themselves, their dogs and other park patrons safe. 

With dog bites accounting for many of our country’s personal injury cases, we compiled this resource of the leash laws in popular Missouri parks so you will be prepared for your next pet day at the park. 

An Overview of Missouri Leash Laws 

Missouri does not have a designated statewide dog leash law. However, Missouri does have an animal trespass statute (RSMo 578.011). If a dog causes severe harm due to failure to restrain, the owner may be held liable for injuries to another dog or person under various leash laws in the state of Missouri.

Leash Laws in City and County Parks 

Cities throughout the state have varying dog leash laws that they expect dog owners to follow. In St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis , owners must leash and securely hold their pets whenever they are not on their own property, except in the case of a city-designated dog park. Additionally, no dog is permitted to be at-large, or running loose, on any public street, business property, park or another person’s private property. 

However, other major cities have slight variations in their regulations, such as: 

  • Columbia, MO: All dogs must be leashed in parks except for parks with designated leash-free regulations. 
  • Kansas City, MO: All dogs must be on a leash at all times outside of personal property. This includes parks, streets, sidewalks and other personal property. 

Before taking your dog to a city or county park, take a moment to review their park rules prior to arriving at the park. 

Leash Laws in State Parks

Missouri state parks have their own set of leash regulations since they are not under the governance of a city or municipality. Our state parks require dog owners to: 

  1. Keep campsites to only two dogs per site. 
  2. Keep pets on a leash of no more than 10 feet at all times. 
  3. Keep pets away from public beaches or swimming areas. 
  4. Keep pets outdoors in camp areas or inside designated “Cabins for Canines”.

Those who violate these laws and find themselves in a situation where their dog has harmed or bitten another person may be held responsible in a Missouri dog bite lawsuit. 

Leash Laws in Missouri National Parks

National parks such as Gateway Arch National Park, Ozark National Scenic Riverways and more have additional ordinances to keep pets, their owners and other park visitors safe. Their regulations include: 

  1. Keeping pets on a leash of no more than six feet at all times. 
  2. Taking pets to only designated outdoor park areas unless they are a trained and licensed service animal.

Meet with a Missouri Dog Bite Attorney

Having a dog can be a great joy, but it is also a great responsibility. Owners must be vigilant in their dog’s training and abide by Missouri leash laws in public spaces. If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries due to a dog bite or attack from another owner’s negligence, our Missouri dog bite attorneys will be able to assist you with your case. 

For more information about the personal injury cases we handle, contact MHM to speak to an attorney and begin your journey toward recovery.