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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?

It is the responsibility of local authorities to collect and return stray dogs. The Police will not accept stray dogs. Stray dogs that are contained will be collected by a Community Warden.

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

  • We try to identify the owner and contact them. All efforts will be made to reunite micro-chipped dogs, or dogs wearing collars with tags, with their owners before being taken to the kennels.
  • The dog is taken to a registered kennel for safe keeping. Dogs are kennelled separately and are fed and walked.
  • Owners have seven days to claim their dogs. Dogs that are not claimed are given to a dog rehoming organisation.

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 rehoming charities any unclaimed stray dogs.

Lost and found dogs

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

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

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

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 Customer Services.

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
'Out of hours' collection fee £61
Kennelling per night £7
Flea and worming at the kennel £10
Veterinary check-up and boosters* £56.90

*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 above.

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.

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. 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 the payment made.

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