Found dogs (strays)

A dog that is roaming free in a public space without its owner being present, whether or not it is wearing a collar and tag or has been microchipped, is classed as a 'stray'.

If you find a stray dog please try and contain it so that it can't escape again, but only if you can do it safely*

If the dog has a collar and tag please contact the person named on the tag. If you are near a vets surgery or pet shop, you could take the dog there to check for a microchip - if the dog has up to date microchip details the owner can be contacted.

If you are unable to contact the owners you must contact us and we will arrange to collect the stray dog, (find out what to do if you want to keep the dog with you).

Report a found dog

If you find a dog please call us: 

Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4pm - 01246 345345
All other times - 0300 323 0076

We will need to know:

  • your name, address and contact details
  • a full description of the dog
  • when and where you found it
  • whether the dog has a collar and tag, and any contact details that are on it

What happens when you report a found dog during office hours:

A duty officer will call you back to arrange to collect the dog from you. We can't always offer an immediate response, but we will try to respond within two hours.

If you report a found dog after 4pm, you can contact 0300 323 0076. Dogs found after 4pm are treated as ‘outside office hours’ – this is because we aren’t able to collect the dog from you and get to the kennels before they close.

What happens when you report a found dog outside office hours:

  • Monday to Thursday - our dog officer will arrange to collect the dog from you the next working day

Please note, we don't have a 24 hour stray dog service, and you can't take the dog to the kennels yourself.

If you can, please keep the dog until we are able to collect it from you.

In the meantime you can: 

Loose dogs 

Dogs that are running along the road or pavement are more difficult to catch because they are skittish, frightened or nervous; we will inform the police to prevent any traffic issues.

* Aggressive dogs 

If a dog is behaving aggressively and someone has been attacked or bitten, call the police non-emergency number 101. If it is an emergency situation call the police on 999; do not approach an aggressive dog.

Keeping a dog that you have found

If you find a stray dog you may decide that you want to keep it. This may be possible if the owners don't claim it, but you must still report to us that you have found it (if you don't, this could be treated as theft). You should also register the dog as found on social media etc.

We can complete a ‘retained by finder’ form, which means that you are required to be responsible for the found dog for 28 days. If the true owner comes forward within that 28 day period you must hand the dog over to them. 

After 28 days, if no one comes forward to collect the dog, the ownership of the dog will transfer to you. 

Last updated on 02 January 2024