Based on feedback and questions we received regarding last week’s Leash Law article, we thought we would follow up to provide some answers and clarification.

Cats – and other domesticated animals

To illustrate the importance of leashing cats, we reached out to Laura Erickson who is a nationally recognized writer, speaker, and advocate for birds. The following quote is from Laura regarding why cats should be leashed or kept indoors:

“Duluth Audubon Society worked hard to get our cat leash ordinance passed. The first time we failed, with several city councilmen and women telling me that they did indeed care about birds or at least sympathized with those of us who do, but also had constituents who thought cats should be wild and free, and they had to balance both interests. The ordinance finally passed after people from the St. Louis County Health Department weighed in, saying cats are now the Number One rabies vector to humans among domesticated animals, and also that cats carry toxoplasmosis, a dangerous disease with its worst effects on people with compromised or undeveloped immune systems, especially the elderly, babies, and toddlers. They pointed out that outdoor cats seem to be most drawn to garden beds and children's sandboxes when they want an outdoor litter box, and it's their feces that carry spread the toxoplasmosis to elderly gardeners and children playing in sandboxes.”

In addition to cats, all other domesticated animals need to be leashed or otherwise contained.

Service dogs

Certified service dogs are specially trained to do a task for an individual and are exempt from the law.

Prong and e-collars

Collars may not have any type of prongs on the inside of the collar that may cause injury or discomfort to the animal’s neck. E-collars can be used, but not for restraining an animal. All domestic animals must be on a leash no longer than 6-feet long. However, invisible fences can be used to restrain an animal on private property.

Retractable leashes

Leashes that extend past 6 feet should be locked at the 6-foot mark or shorter.

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback and asked a question. If you have further questions about Duluth’s leash ordinance, please send an email to Or you can learn about all rules and regulations about keeping animals in Duluth in Chapter 6 of the Duluth, MN Legislative Code linked here.