Read the Sign: Keep Dogs Leashed at All Times in the Arnold Arboretum

In recent months the Arnold Arboretum has put up several signs letting people know that dogs must be leashed. There has been a recent push by arboretum staff for all dogs to be leashed after the August 19th killing of a beloved heron by two dogs.

This sign was recently put up near the Hunnewell Building entrance. It clearly lets people know the rule — all dogs must be leashed at all times. But from one simple glance near the sign people are disavowing the signs and not leashing their dogs.

A sign in the Arnold Arboretum lets people know that dogs must be leased at all times.

A sign in the Arnold Arboretum lets people know that dogs must be leased at all times.

Equating the Arnold Arboretum to botanical gardens, the sign clearly stresses that dogs are not allowed in most botanical gardens, but they are allowed in the arboretum.

Comparing the arboretum to an outdoor natural history museum, arboretum staff are asking dog owners and walkers to keep dogs leashed so the many wonders of the arboretum are safe and can be enjoyed by everyone.

It’s also the law to leash dogs in Massachusetts and Boston. Massachusetts State Law (chapter 140, section 173) and a Boston City ordinance (Section 16-1.9) each require dogs to be leashed on public property. Part of the city ordinance states, “We must respect the rights of those with whom we share the city’s parks in order to ensure a clean and safe environment.”

The recently posted sign ends with the phone numbers to call Boston Animal Control (617-635-5348) and the Boston Police Department (311 or 617-343-4560).


  • Monster

    These appeals to dog owners’ sense of civic responsibility don’t seem to be working. They need to start issuing actual fines. A $50 or $100 fine for off leash dogs, if enforced, will make people take notice.

    • Weld Hillster

      Boston Animal Control does issue citations when they catch dog owners breaking the law. Unfortunately, unlike parking tickets, the leash citations don’t have the same teeth. The enforcement part of it is something City Council should take up, as this problem is mushrooming around our city parks. It’s bad at the Arboretum, but Millennial Park is an absolute zoo.

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