What to do if your dog goes missing, or if you find a stray dog.

The council has a duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (s149) to collect contained stray dogs. Owners have seven days to claim their dogs and those that are not claimed, where possible are found a new home.

The Street Wardens are responsible for the dog warden service and deal with contained stray dogs. If your dog is missing, or if you happen to contain a stray dog, please contact us and we will notify the dog warden. If you require the service out of office hours, please ring 0800 111 4484.

Please remember our role only allows us to collect dogs which have been contained by someone.

It is the responsibility of the relevant authority to arrange accommodation for the dog. For example, should the police arrest an individual who is with a dog, this would class the dog as the individual's property and responsibility would be remain with the arresting officers or if an ambulance crew is treating a patient who is with a dog, it would be the responsibility of the ambulance crew to arrange accommodation for the dog.

Please take note of recent changes in legislation which apply to dog ownership:

  • The Microchipping of Dogs Regulation 2015 came into force on the 6th of April 2016. This means that all dogs over 8 weeks old must be micro-chipped (by veterinary professionals or suitably qualified people) and up-to-date details of the dog's keeper must be registered on an approved database. Microchips should only be implanted by veterinary professionals or suitably qualified people.

  • The keeper of the dog is the person who the dog normally lives with. In the case of a puppy, the keeper is the person who keeps the mother of the pups. No dog may be passed on to a new keeper unless micro-chipped.  Any dog purchased or transferred from a breeder) must be micro-chipped by the breeder prior to the dog being taken by the new keeper.

  • The responsibility lies with the new keeper to change the previous keeper's details unless already changed by the previous keeper

Previous legislation already applies to dogs purchased or brought in from abroad. They must be micro-chipped and; if remaining in England, registered within 30 days of the dog's arrival.


The Law

Section 2 of The Control of Dogs Order 1992 states every dog whilst on a highway or in public place is required to wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar, or on a plate or badge attached to it. This order still applies and you are liable to costs or a court fine should you fail to comply.


If we find your dog

The charges for the return of each stray dog are:

  • Statutory fee of £25.00 per dog

  • Admin fee of £8.00 per dog

  • Kennelling fee (per calendar day) of £13.50 (once a dog has been taken to the kennels, the fee will apply per day whether it has stayed overnight or not).

  • There is an extra fee for delivering a dog home from the kennels of £42.00.

All fees must be paid before a dog is released. Each day they are in kennels will incur additional charges. After 7 days the dog may be re-homed.  

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. 

  • If this is possible, and dependant on the dogs straying history, the dog may be returned free of charge. 

  • If this is not possible, then the owner will be charged for fees incurred; administration and kennelling (if it was needed). The collection/return fee may be waived.

Should this situation persist, the full charges will apply even if the dog is correctly chipped/has collar and tag, from the third occurrence onwards. If the information on the collar/micro-chip is not current, then the full charges will apply.


If you find a stray dog

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 Section 150 requires the finder of a stray dog to:

  • Return the dog to its owner, or;
  • Contact the local authority for the area in which the dog was found.  

If the finder fails to take one of these courses of action he will have committed an offence and would be liable, upon conviction, to a fine.

The council may also request the finder to keep the dog until it is practical for the dog warden to collect. This could be up to 48 hours.

If the finder requests to keep the dog, he must supply the officer with his contact details and details of the dog. The officer is required to keep a record of these details. Regulations require that the officer makes appropriate enquiries to ascertain that the finder is a suitable person to keep the dog.

The finder must then be informed verbally and in writing that he is obliged to keep the dog (if unclaimed by the owner) for a month and that failure to comply with that obligation is a criminal offence.

Owners who have their dog returned will be during normal office hours by prior arrangement with the dog warden. Facilities are not available to enable owners to have their dog returned outside of office hours or over a weekend. However, special arrangements may be made with prior agreement.


Abandoned or unwanted dogs

The council's arrangements for stray dogs are not a means of disposal for unwanted dogs.

Where a dog has been intentionally abandoned or handed in as a stray by its owner, they will be charged the following:

  • Admin fee of £8.00
  • 7 days kennelling fee of £94.50

Dogs not claimed within seven days will become the property of the council. Where possible the dog will be re-homed. If this is not possible either in the interest of the health of dog or the safety to the public, the dog may have to be put to sleep. 



The council will make all reasonable efforts to re-home dogs that are not claimed.