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Stray and lost dogs

There is no legal definition of a stray dog. The RSPCA defines it as "one that is in a public place and not under the charge of a keeper". When a person is not in control, dogs can cause problems, such as road accidents, damage to property and fouling. They can be aggressive towards people and other pets. A responsible dog owner will do everything they can to keep their pet and others safe.

Who is responsible for stray dogs?

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (Section 68) makes local authorities solely responsible for dealing with stray dogs. The Police are no longer responsible for stray dogs. Any stray dogs that are tethered, or securely held, will be collected by our Community Wardens.

What we do for stray dogs

If we cannot immediately identify the owner of a stray dog, they are taken to a registered kennels for safe keeping. All efforts will be made to reunite microchipped dogs, or dogs wearing collars with tags, with their owners before being taken to the kennels.

Unclaimed dogs that can't be identified

The law states that all dogs must now be microchipped. Dogs in public places should also have a collar and identification tag. Owners have seven days to claim their dogs. Any that are not claimed are found a new home.

Cost of looking after stray dogs

A handling fee, together with any vet or kennelling costs, must be paid before a dog can be reclaimed by its owner. We also keep a register of lost and found dogs.

Putting stray dogs down

We will never put down a dog unless a vet recommends it, because the dog:

  • is suffering;
  • cannot be operated upon, or medicated;
  • is aggressive, or will be a danger to people;
  • has the physical characteristics of a banned breed, see dangerous dogs.

Our policy is, wherever possible, to rehome or pass onto local rehoming charities any unclaimed stray dogs.

Reuniting a stray dog and owner

See claiming your stray dog.

Lost dogs

To tell us you have lost your dog contact Customer Services.

When the Council is closed, please use our 'out of hours' emergency number: 01768 212499.

If your dog is microchipped and your contact details with the microchipping company are up-to-date, it is likely that you will be reunited quicker and the stray dog service charges will be smaller.

Found a stray dog?

To tell us you have found a stray dog contact Customer Services.

When the Council is closed, please use our out of hours emergency number 01768 212499.

We have been awarded the RSPCA Gold Award for the stray dog service our Community Wardens provided each year from 2011 to 2017.

Claiming a stray dog

During office hours

Office hours are Monday to Thursday between 8.45am and 5.15pm and Friday between 8.45am and 4.45pm.

To arrange the return of your dog please contact the Community Warden.

There will be a fee to reclaim your dog, which must be paid first. The Community Warden will confirm the time to collect your dog from Mansion House.

As a guide to the fees to collect your dog please see the figures below:

Service Charge Fees for 2018-2019
Statutory fee £25
Veterinary check-up and booster vaccinations (including Kennel Cough) £56.90*
Cost of kennelling per night £7
Flea and worm treatment at the kennel £10

*This may increase if the vet decides other emergency medication is needed while the dog is in our care.

Out of office hours

In the evenings, at weekends, or on bank holidays, we are unable to return dogs.

We are unable to return dogs because we contract out our 'out of hours' service. Extra fees will apply, as stated below.

If you report your dog missing to us and the 'out of hours' service has already collected your dog, the dog must remain in our kennels until the next working day, for example, Monday morning. This is because owners have to pay the fees first. Fees can be paid during office hours at our reception at Mansion House.

Confirming we have your dog

The 'out of hours' service will be able to confirm to you that we have your dog, or if it matches the description you have given. If the stray dog has a microchip they will call the person registered on the microchip to inform them that the dog is safe and in our care. The kennels we use meet Boarding Kennels Standards and provide a high level of care.

Service charge Fees for 2018-2019
Statutory fee £25
Plus 'out of hours' collection fee £61
Kennelling per night £7
Flea and worming at the kennel £10
Veterinary check-up and boosters* £56.90

*Arranged as soon as possible on the first working day. Emergency treatment will be carried out before if necessary. All dogs will be kept in isolation if they have not had kennel cough boosters. If owners are identified before the Community Warden takes the dog to the vets this will not be added to the cost. Owners must collect the dog and pay the fees in reasonable time that day (as decided by the Community Warden).

Dog collection costs

If you are the owner of the stray dog, a Community Warden will discuss with you the exact cost that you will have to pay before you collect your dog. Payment must be made in full. You can pay in cash or with debit or credit card. Payments can only be made at Mansion House reception. Staff will give you a receipt for payments made.

Any verbal or physical abuse towards a Community Warden will not be tolerated.