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Council Services

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Stray Dogs and Lost Dogs

The Law

A stray dog is any dog which is running free without its owner being present.  Legally it makes no difference if the dog is loose accidentally, or has been deliberately allowed to roam.

If an owner allows their dog to stray they commit an offence. Stray dogs can be seized, and the Owner must pay a fine before a dog can be returned.  Where possible the Local Authority attempts to seize all stray dogs. 

Click here to see the dogs we have found straying in the last 7 days.

If you’ve lost your dog

Anybody who loses their dog should report it lost to the Borough Council. Contact Us  See our useful contacts and links for details of others you could advise

Tell us:

  • Your Name, Address, and a contact telephone number
  • A description of your dog, and its name
  • Whether it has a collar, or a microchip
  • Where and when you lost your dog

We will advise you of the reference number of your report, which you should quote if you contact us again – for example if your dog is found.

See our Responsible Dog Ownership page for hints and tips to minimise the chances of losing your dog.

Report a Stray Dog

Anybody who finds a stray dog should report it to the Borough Council. Contact Us
The Police no longer accept Stray Dogs.

Tell us:

  • Your Name, Address, and a contact telephone number
  • A description of the dog, whether it has a collar
  • Whether you have hold of the dog and if so how long you could hold it for

We will advise you of the reference number of your report, which you should quote if you contact us again about this matter.

What we do  (During Working Hours)

  • Our normal working hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm
  • The details you provide will be passed to the Dog Warden
  • If you’re holding a stray dog for us we will arrange to collect the dog from you as soon as possible
  • If the dog is still running loose we will attend when we are able.

Outside Working Hours

  • We do not provide a collection service out of hours.  Police stations are now unable to accept dogs.
  • If you can, please take care of the dog until the next working day, when we will arrange to collect it from you.
  • It may be possible for you to take the dog to the City Dogs Home.  Please contact them by calling 01782 304130 to check if they could receive the dog before travelling.  They are not obliged to accept the dog from you.
  • You should advise our emergency contact service that you have found a dog by calling 01782 615599. They will record your contact details and where the dog was found.  They pass this information to us the next working day.  They may also have had a call from someone reporting the dog lost, and may be able to match the owner with the finder.
  • If the dog is injured please contact Vets Now by calling 01782 513366 who will advise you.

What happens to the Dogs we find

  • Where a Dog Warden finds a stray dog they may seize the dog
  • If we can find its owners details (perhaps from its tag or a microchip) we will contact the owner
  • Its our policy to scan every dog we find to see if it has a microchip.  We then contact the microchip provider to find the details they have registered.
  • If we are able to contact the owner, and they are able to pay the fine straight away we will arrange to return the dog, provided that someone will be home to receive it
  • In all other cases we will take it to the City Dogs Home, or make alternative arrangements with the finder, a vet, or an animal charity to look after the dog for us
  • Owners have up to 7 days to reclaim their dogs from the kennels, but must pay the fine and daily kennelling charges before it will be released.
  • We display pictures of the dogs the Dog Wardens have found in last 7 days on our website. Click here to see the page.
  • Our latest stray dog figures are:






Total dogs seized





Kept by the person finding the dog





Returned to owners without being taken to kennels





Reclaimed from kennels by their owners





Not reclaimed and so rehomed





Put to sleep






How much will it cost to reclaim my dog?

If we can contact you we’ll telephone you to explain options available.

If we can return your dog to you quickly we charge £70. You need to pay by credit or debit card to our Customer Services Team. (Telephone 01782 742571)

If we can’t contact you, no one is home, or you can’t pay promptly we will take your dog to the City Dogs Home.  Their charge will be from £84.44.  They will add £14.44 for each day the dog has been at the kennels.  They will not release your dog until you have paid what is due.

Your dog can remain at the kennels for up to 7 days.  After 7 days unclaimed dogs may be rehomed or put to sleep.

Prices quoted are valid until 31st March 2016.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do if I find a stray dog when no warden is available?

If possible you should try to hold the dog until a Warden can visit you. If this is not possible you could try phoning your local vet to see if they can hold it until a Warden is available.

I’ve found a dog, can I keep it ?

We need to record the dog's details, in case the owner contacts us searching for it.  A Dog Warden will want to visit you to check if the dog has a microchip, and take a photograph of the dog.  The warden will explain further about options to keep the dog when he contacts you.

What happens if I can not afford to pay the charges ?

The law requires that you pay all the charges before your dog is released. However, in exceptional circumstances we may be able to allow you to pay the fine later.  You need to explain to us why you are unable to pay.  We will check to confirm this, and contact you to offer alternative payment options.  In all cases you will need to pay the daily kennelling charge to the kennels.  This is £14.44 for each day, or part of a day. that your dog has been at the kennels.

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