Why Aren't Dogs Allowed Off-Leash?

Person walking dog


  • It’s the Law! New Jersey’s “Responsible Dog Ownership Act”, adopted by municipalities, county, and state parks, requires any pet to be caged, or held on a leash, under the immediate control of the owner at all times.
  • Increased potential for injury to other visitors, employees, and other pets. Most dogs are friendly; however, some are not. A dog can jump up on someone in a friendly fashion and knock them down or scratch them. Pet owners can be held liable for injuries or damage caused by their animals.
  • Increased potential for frightening other visitors, especially children. Even if a dog is friendly, people sometimes may be frightened to see a dog running up to them. It is unacceptable for park visitors to be made uncomfortable or frightened by unrestrained pets.
  • The potential for disturbance to wildlife, especially to endangered or threatened species. Nearly all dogs will pursue wildlife, either playfully or with serious intent to do harm. Even a dog’s mere presence may be enough to scare off wildlife. As a result, Park visitors will lose the opportunity to enjoy observing wildlife that call our parks home.

For the above reasons, the Rules & Regulations of the Somerset County Park Commission includes the Six-Foot Leash Requirement.

Thank you for your understanding and assistance in preserving the quality of everyone’s visits to the County parks!

Please Visit Our Leash-Free Dog Park Facilities located at:

Colonial Park
165 Mettlers Rd, Somerset, NJ 08873

East County
Park 40 Reinman Rd, Warren, NJ 07059

Skillman Park
Lot A, Main Boulevard, Skillman, NJ 08558