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Is There a Leash Law in Seminole County?

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In Seminole County there is a leash law, and in the Seminole County ordinances it is officially called: Sec. 20.17-Animals at-large prohibited; custody and confinement authorized.

That seems to be the big question lately. 

In Seminole County there is a leash law, and in the Seminole County ordinances it is officially called: Sec. 20.17-Animals at-large prohibited; custody and confinement authorized. Since this is a mouthful, let’s go over in layman’s terms what Sec. 20.17 actually says and means.

Most importantly, the “animals at-large” ordinance applies to both dogs and cats. Many people do not realize that cats are included so making everyone aware of this is extremely necessary.

The gist of the “animals-at-large” ordinance is that it is a violation for any dog or cat to run loose on any public or private property, unless the owner(s) of the property authorizes your animal to do so. For example, it would be authorized for your dog to run loose in a dog park, but not a public park.

All dogs must be on a leash when being walked off the owner’s property. In compliance with the ordinance, dogs on flexi leads that extend beyond eight feet must be reeled in to eight feet when other pets or people are around. (Service dogs are exempt from this.)

When any domestic animal is found running loose within Seminole County, it may be taken into custody by animal control or a law enforcement agency and taken to the Seminole County Animal Services (SCAS) shelter. A private citizen may also turn a stray animal into SCAS when found. There will be fees to redeem your pet once impounded


The best way to keep your dog or cat safe and in compliance is to have your pet on a leash whenever you are outside your home or fenced yard. Make sure your pet is also properly vaccinated and has a Seminole County pet license. Remember, it is up to you to be a responsible pet owner in order to keep your beloved pets safe.

SCAS is located at 232 Eslinger Way, Sanford. Adoptions, licensing, education, low-cost rabies vaccines, microchips, and volunteer opportunities are available. Animal Services will gladly accept donations, all of which go toward our homeless animals. To read more about the ordinances that apply to animals in Seminole County, visit SeminoleCountyPets.com and click on “Ordinances Pertaining To Animals” in the left-hand menu bar.

Diane Gagliano is the program coordinator at Seminole County Animal Services. She has been an animal advocate for over 20 years and proudly owns several rescue dogs and cats.
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Posted By: David Mair

Seminole County ordnance does not state that an animal has to be on a leash. It states that the animal must be under the control of the owner. Seminole is the only county in the State, that I am aware of, that has this wording. I have seen dogs, on leashes, that are not under the control of the owner; the owner does not have the strength to restrain the animal if it wants to attack something. That is a violation of the Seminole ordnance. My dog obeys my commands at all times; that is effectively, my leash, thereby satisfying the statute. On the other hand, please keep your cats out of my yard and off my house. They a not under the owners control when they visit. I will take care of the squirrels, myself, thank you. That is, incidentally, a Statewide ordnance for humane control of vermin.

Posted By: Jacki P

Actually, all dogs must be under restraint by a leash when being walked off the dog owner's property. See the wording of the ordinance below. (b) Sec. 20.17. - Animals at-large prohibited; custody and confinement authorized. (a) It is unlawful for any animal owner to allow, either willfully or through failure to exercise due care and control, the owner's animals to run at-large upon public property, unless the owner of such public property expressly authorizes such activity, or upon private property of others, including common areas of condominiums, cluster homes, planned unit developments, and community associations, without the consent of all affected owners, unless such private property owners authorize such activity by express consent. (b) All dogs must be under restraint by a leash when being walked off the dog owner's property. There is a rebuttable presumption that a dog is not under restraint or within the owner's direct control when the leash length exceeds eight (8) feet and in the presence of a domestic animal or person. Service animals are exempt from this part, Section 2017(b). (c) When any domestic animal is found at-large anywhere within the County, whether licensed or otherwise and whether owned or otherwise, such animal may be taken into custody by the Animal Control Official or other law enforcement officer to be impounded at the animal shelter and disposed as provided in Section 20.37 of this Code. (d) Seminole County is not liable for any injury of an animal that may occur while any Animal Control Official or employee or other law enforcement officer is trying to capture, transport, load, or unload any animal found at-large in violation of this Part. In the event an animal is injured, the Animal Control Official shall file a written report of the circumstances with the Chief Administrator for the Office of Emergency Management within one working day of such incident. (Ord. No. 72-10, § 4, 12-19-72; Ord. No. 74-8, § 6, 10-29-74; SCC, § 4-13, 9-27-77; Ord. No. 84-19, § 8, 3-13-84; Ord. No. 93-12, § 5, 7-13-93; Ord. No. 2017-7, § 1, 3-14-2017; Ord. No. 2018-30, § 3, 9-25-2018) Sec. 20.18. - Defecating. (a) Private Property. An animal owner shall promptly remove, and dispose of, in a sanitary manner, feces deposited by the animal on private property unless otherwise authorized by the property owner. (b) Public property. An animal owner shall promptly remove, and dispose of, in a sanitary manner, feces deposited by the animal on public property, which includes but is not limited to, sidewalks, easements, and recreation areas. (Ord. No. 74-8, § 7, 10-29-74; Ord. No. 76-5, § 3, 2-17-76; SCC, § 4-14, 9-27-77; Ord. No. 84-19, § 9, 3-13-84; Ord. No. 2018-30, § 3, 9-25-2018)

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