What to do if you find a stray dog

A stray dog is defined as being out in a public place without its owner/guardian, or in a place in which they are not permitted to be. If you find a stray dog you can either refer to us for collection, or look after it yourself.

Report a stray dog online

If you report it to us, we will make arrangements to collect the dog. We will ask you to supply details of:

  • Your name and address
  • Your contact details
  • The location of the dog
  • The breed and colour of the dog
  • The owner's details (if known)

Every effort will be made to locate and notify a dog's owner but, if one cannot be not be identified, the dog will be taken to one of the kennels used by the council, where it will be kept for seven days.

If, at the end of this period the dog is not claimed, the ownership of the dog legally transfers to the council and efforts are made to re-home it. It is very rare that we would put a dog to sleep, and then only if it was not possible to re-home it due to illness, extreme old age or if it was considered to be dangerous.

Dogs found to be regularly straying will automatically be taken to kennels, and the owner, if known, will be informed.

When a dog is claimed, the owner is required to pay costs including a statutory fee and other associated handling and administration costs, including kennelling costs. These costs must be paid to the council before collecting the dog.

Looking after a stray dog yourself

If you wish, you can look after the dog yourself until the owner comes forward. If you do this, it is a legal requirement that you notify the council of this at the earliest possible opportunity. We will then make arrangements to visit you to scan the dog for a microchip and take a photograph for identification purposes, in case its owner comes forward.

If you decide to retain and look after the dog yourself, you must keep it for a period of one month if the owner does not come forward. You should also be aware that the owner will always have a legal claim to the dog.

Reclaiming a stray dog

Owners of dogs taken in as a stray and removed to the dog pound are liable for a statutory charge of £25 plus additional costs incurred dependant on:

  • The number of 24-hour periods that the dog remains in the dog pound before it is re-united with its owner
  • Whether this incident of the dog being seized is the first, the second or subsequent occurrence with a period of 12 months
  • In the case of an incident that is the first occurrence, whether the dog has, or has not, been correctly tagged and micro-chipped.

Specific costs for each circumstance are available upon request.

Last updated: 30 September 2015. Was this information helpful?

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