Is It Illegal to Leave Your Dog Chained Outside in Arkansas? Here’s What the Law Says

Dogs are cherished companions, offering loyalty, love, and endless entertainment. As pet owners, we have a fundamental responsibility to ensure their well-being. This includes providing them with proper food, shelter, and exercise, all of which contribute to a happy and healthy life.

Chaining a dog outside can raise concerns about animal cruelty. Restricted movement, exposure to harsh weather elements, and isolation can all have detrimental effects on a dog’s physical and mental health. This begs the question: is it illegal to chain your dog outside in Arkansas? Let’s delve into the legalities and explore better alternatives for keeping your furry friend safe and secure.

Does Arkansas Have a State Law Against Chaining Dogs Outside?

Unfortunately, Arkansas does not have a statewide law prohibiting the chaining of dogs outdoors. This means there’s no blanket ban on the practice throughout the state. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all.

Local Ordinances May Apply

While there’s no overarching state law, individual cities and counties in Arkansas may have their own animal control ordinances that regulate tethering practices. These ordinances often outline specific requirements for chaining dogs outside, focusing on ensuring the animal’s basic needs are met and preventing cruelty.

Here are some examples of city ordinances in Arkansas that address chaining:

  • Little Rock: In the capital city, tethering a dog outside is allowed, but with restrictions. The tether must be long enough to allow the dog to move freely within a designated area and access adequate food, water, and shelter. Additionally, tethering is not permitted during times of extreme weather, such as excessive heat or cold.
  • North Little Rock: North Little Rock takes a stricter stance. Chaining a dog outside is entirely prohibited within city limits. Alternative methods for securing dogs outdoors, like secure fenced-in yards, are encouraged.
  • Fort Smith: Fort Smith’s animal control ordinance allows tethering, but only for a maximum of two continuous hours. Similar to Little Rock, the tether must be long enough for unrestricted movement, and the dog must have access to food, water, and proper shelter. Tethering is also prohibited during severe weather conditions.

Understanding Local Animal Control Ordinances

Since there’s no uniform state law, it’s crucial for dog owners in Arkansas to research and understand the specific animal control ordinances applicable to their city or county. This information is typically available on the official website of your local animal control department.

Here are some common restrictions you might find in local ordinances:

  • Tether Length: Ordinances often specify the minimum length of tether a dog can be restrained on. This ensures the dog has sufficient space to move around and engage in natural behaviors.
  • Shelter Requirements: Many ordinances mandate that chained dogs must have access to adequate shelter from the elements. This could include a doghouse of appropriate size, shade during hot weather, and protection from wind and rain.
  • Supervision and Weather Conditions: Some ordinances may require dog owners to supervise their chained pets or prohibit tethering during extreme weather conditions such as intense heat, freezing temperatures, or heavy rain.

Beyond the Law: Why Chaining Can Be Harmful

Even if chaining complies with local regulations, it’s important to consider the potential negative impacts on your dog’s well-being. Here’s a closer look at some of the concerns:

  • Physical and Psychological Issues: Restricted movement due to chaining can lead to muscle atrophy, joint pain, and other physical problems. The isolation and lack of mental stimulation can also contribute to anxiety, depression, and even aggressive
  • Risk of Escape and Injury: Chained dogs can become frustrated and desperate to escape. This can lead to them chewing or digging at their tethers, potentially causing injuries or allowing them to break free. An escaped dog faces dangers like getting lost, hit by traffic, or encountering other animals.
  • Detrimental to Socialization: Dogs are social creatures who thrive on interaction. Chaining isolates them from their human companions and prevents them from interacting with other dogs in a healthy way. This lack of socialization can hinder their development and make them fearful or aggressive towards other animals.

Alternatives to Chaining Your Dog

Fortunately, there are several humane and effective alternatives to chaining your dog outside in Arkansas:

  • Secure Fenced-in Yards: Providing your dog with a securely fenced-in yard allows them freedom of movement while keeping them contained. This is a great option for pet owners who want their dogs to enjoy the outdoors but remain safe and secure.
  • Tethering with Supervision for Short Periods: While not ideal as a long-term solution, tethering can be acceptable for short periods under certain circumstances. This could include supervising your dog while they’re outside for short potty breaks or while you’re working in the yard for a limited time. Ensure the tether is long enough for unrestricted movement, and provide access to shade, water, and shelter during this time.
  • Utilizing Dog Runs or Kennels: If you lack a fenced yard or need a solution for extended periods when you’re not home, consider reputable dog runs or kennels. These facilities provide dogs with secure outdoor space, socialization opportunities, and often playtime with staff or other dogs.


Responsible dog ownership goes beyond simply providing food and water. It’s about ensuring your canine companion’s physical and mental well-being. While chaining a dog outside may not be explicitly illegal in some parts of Arkansas, it’s a practice fraught with potential problems.

Researching local ordinances is crucial, but it’s also essential to consider the broader impact on your dog’s health and happiness. There are far more humane and effective ways to keep your dog safe and secure outdoors, such as providing a fenced yard or utilizing supervised tethering for short periods.


  • A happy dog is a healthy dog. Prioritize your dog’s well-being by providing them with freedom of movement, shelter from the elements, and opportunities for socialization.
  • Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local animal control department or animal welfare organization for additional guidance on proper pet care and responsible dog ownership practices in Arkansas.

Resources for Pet Owners in Arkansas

By choosing humane alternatives to chaining and providing your dog with the care they deserve, you can strengthen the bond you share and ensure your furry friend lives a happy and healthy life.

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MBS Staff
Articles: 7042

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