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 handles stray dogs?

It is the responsibility of local authorities to collect and return stray dogs. Community Wardens will collect stray dogs. The Police will not accept stray dogs.

Stray dog at vets for a health checkWhat happens to stray dogs?

  • We try to identify the dog owner and contact them. We will make every effort to reunite micro-chipped dogs, or dogs wearing collars with tags, with their owners before we take them to the kennels.
  • We take dogs to a registered kennel for safe keeping. The kennels feed and walk dogs and keep each dog separate.
  • Owners have seven days to claim their dogs. Dogs that are not claimed, we give to a dog rehoming organisation.

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

  • Is suffering
  • The vet cannot operate or medicate the dog
  • Is aggressive, or will be a danger to people
  • Has the physical characteristics of a banned breed

Find out about dangerous dogs, which are the responsibility of the police.

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

Lost and found dogs

Contact Customer Services during office hours, to tell us you have lost your dog or found a dog.

'Out of hours' telephone the emergency number: 01768 212499.

It is likely we can reunite you with your dog quicker, if your dog is micro-chipped and your contact details with the micro-chipping company are up-to-date. The quicker we reunite you with your dog, the less you will have to pay in stray dog service charges.

We received the RSPCA Gold Award for the stray dog service our Community Wardens provided each year from 2011 to 2018.

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.

Contact Customer Services to arrange the return of your dog.

There will be a fee to reclaim your dog. You must pay the fee before you can reclaim your dog. 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:

Out of hours costs
Service charge Fees for 2020-2021
Statutory fee £25.00
'Out of hours' collection fee £67.52
Kennelling per night £7.77
Flea and worming at the kennel £10.00
Veterinary check-up and boosters* £53.50

*This may increase if the vet decides your dog needs other emergency medication while 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 above.

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

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.

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. You must pay the full amount, either in cash, or with a debit or credit card, at our Mansion House office reception only. Staff will give you a receipt for the payment made.

Please note: Arrangements to collect and return stray dogs may vary during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Community Wardens will discuss arrangements with dog owners/finders.

Last updated: Monday, 2 November, 2020.