There is no legal definition of a stray dog, but 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.
The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (Section 68) makes us 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.
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 micro-chipped dogs, or dogs wearing collars with tags (owners details must be up-to-date and accurate), with their owners before being taken to the kennels.
The law states that all dogs must now be microchipped and 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.
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.
We will never put down a dog unless a vet recommends it. This may be 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.
If you have lost, or found a dog, please telephone us on 01768 817817.
If you have had your dog 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.
We have been awarded the RSPCA Gold Award for the stray dog service our Community Wardens provided each year from 2011 to 2015.