ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city’s parks, streets, and open spaces will see an uptick in dogs and their owners on walks as the weather continues to get warmer. But if you’re walking your dog within the Albuquerque city limits, there could be consequences for taking your dog out “off-leash.”

Albuquerque Municipal code 9-2-2-2 (A) states that all animals, other than wild animals not owned by any human, must be restricted at all times by either a secure fence, secure facility, secure enclosure, secured in the back of a pickup truck, inside a vehicle with proper ventilation, or be on a leash no longer than eight feet long. The person holding the leash also needs to be able to control the animal.

“It’s good for your own personal dog to be on a leash so if that they get spooked or if they get interested in something, they don’t take off on you,” said Lieutenant Erin McKay with the Department of Animal Welfare. “It’s also good for the safety of the animals in general. A lot of times dogs will react to certain dogs just like us – you might like certain people, you might not like certain people – so having your dog on a leash is just good overall so these interactions don’t happen.”

So what can people do if they see the leash law being broken? “The citizens can always call 3-1-1 and make a complaint…and it will generate a call in our system for an officer to be dispatched to investigate it,” said Lt. McKay.

If someone is found to have broken the leash law, the charge will be a petty misdemeanor and can lead to a maximum penalty of up to a $500 fine or 90 days in jail. Lt. McKay said that is usually determined by a judge.

Fifteen dog parks are located throughout the city and are the only places in Albuquerque where your dog can roam without a leash.