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).
You could also:
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.
If you find a dog during office hours please report it online. Office hours for reporting found dogs are 8.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
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
Photos can help us - but don't take photos if you feel it isn't safe.
Protecting your privacy - find out how we keep your information safe.
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 it is treated as 'outside office hours' (below) - this is because we will aren't able to collect the dog from you and get it to the kennels before they close.
Office hours for reporting found dogs online are 8.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday. At all other times, including weekends and bank holidays, please call us on 0300 323 0076 to report a stray dog that you have found.
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 use social media to report that you have found the dog or search to see if anyone has reported the dog as lost.
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.
- Friday evening / Saturday - our pet courier is on duty between 10am and 4pm to collect the dog and take it to the kennels.
- Sunday - our pet courier is available between 9am and 12 midday to pick up the dog from you. Stray dogs reported after 1pm on Sunday will be collected by our duty dog officer during working hours on Monday.
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.