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Lost dogs

A dog that is roaming free in a public place without its owner is classed as a 'stray'.

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If you lose your dog

Call us straight away to let us know that you have lost your dog.

Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5pm and Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm - call us on 01246 345345.

At all other times please call Careline on 0300 323 0076.

We will take a detailed description of your dog, including where and when it went missing, and will check to see if we have already found it. We keep a register of all lost dogs that are reported to us, and we will try to reunite your dog with you if it is found.

You should also:


If your dog is found

By law we must collect stray dogs that have been found, even if they have been microchipped, or are wearing a collar and tag.

We will try to reunite a found dog with its owner straight away, using details on the collar and tag or microchip or from our lost dog register.

If we can't return a dog to its owner immediately we will take it to kennels where we will hold it for seven days. A dog that isn't claimed within seven days becomes the property of the council, and if it has a suitable temperament it can be rehomed. 

If your dog is found we will return it to you when you have paid a £25 statutory return fee. 


Dogs that have been taken to kennels

If we are unable to reunite your dog with you immediately it will be taken to kennels - you will need to pay the kenneling fees before your dog will be given back to you. 


Frequently asked questions about lost dogs

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The kennel charges are made up of three parts:

  • a £25 statutory return fee, plus
  • a £15 administrative fee, and
  • kennelling costs of £20 per day (or part of a day).

The total amount to be paid works out as follows:

  • day 1 £60
  • day 2 £80
  • day 3 £100
  • day 4 £120
  • day 5 £140
  • day 6 £160
  • day 7 £180

There may be extra charges for transport costs or if your dog needed treating by a vet.

By law we must keep stray dogs for seven days - this should give you time to let us know that you have lost your dog and for you to collect it.

If you don't claim your dog within seven days then it will become the property of the council, and we can rehome it if it is of a suitable temperament.

We will do everything we can to reunite stray dogs with their owners. When we know who the owners are, will send them a notice to tell them that we have found their dog.

The kennels are not open 24 hours a day to reunite dogs with their owners, and you must not attend the kennels without an appointment.

If you pay the fees during office hours our duty dog officer will contact you to arrange for collection of your dog.

Out of office hours, at the weekend or a bank holiday, please phone 0300 323 0076 and you will be given information about how to pay for and collect your dog.

Please note that dogs can't be released from kennels until all fees have been paid.

If you don't collect your dog within seven days you will lose the right to reclaim it, and it will become the property of the council.

If the dog has a suitable temperament we will arrange for it to be rehomed. In some cases the person that found the dog may be allowed to keep it themselves.

Our offices are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5pm
  • Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm

Please note: it is a legal requirement for all fees to be paid in full before your dog is released. This includes kenneling costs, any vet and transport fees, admin charges and the statutory release fee.

Payment can be made over the phone during office hours using a credit or debit card by calling 01246 345345.


Collars, tags and microchipping of dogs

By law your dog must be microchipped and you must keep the details up to date. Your dog must also wear a collar with a tag or plate that carries your contact details.

This ensures that if you lose your dog it can be quickly returned to you and avoids it being taken to kennels (so you won't need to pay kennel fees). An up to date microchip also means that your dog can be linked to you if it is stolen. 

We may take enforcement action if we find your dog is not microchipped, the contact information isn't up to date, or if your dog is not wearing a collar and identification tag.


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We deal with lost and found (stray) dogs under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.


Last updated on 20 October 2020