Can my local municipal government mandate that my dog wear a muzzle on my own private property? In my own fences back yard?

My dog had a provoked incident with a
very minor injury. The prosecutor
dropped it to littering w/ 2 year
probation, and mandated that my dog not
be outside without a muzzle.

Asked on January 10, 2018 under Criminal Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you were brought into municipal court and agreed to the restriction in court (e.g. as part of a plea deal), it is enforceable. It would also be enforceable even without your agreement if a local law or ordinance requires certain dogs (and yours falls into that cateory; for example, dogs who bite someone) to wear a muzzle whenever outside, since you must obey the law. Or it may be enforceable even if no law specifcally says this but if the judge imposed it at sentencing, since judges are given a great deal of "discretion" or freedom in issuing orders and imposing restrictions or punishments--it's not unbridled freedom, so if there is no specific law requiring the muzzle but it was only judicial discretion (judge's choice) to impose this, you could potentially appeal it and win, but be advised that appeals can be expensive and complex and not guaranteed.
To summarize: if the muzzle requirement was agreed to by as part of a plea or can be found specific law or statute or ordinance, it is definitely enforceable; if imposed by a judge after a hearing/trial, it is likely enforceable, but you could challenge it; if not imposed or agreed to as above, you should not have to honor it.

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