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Lost dogs

Lost dogs

A dog that is roaming free in a public space without its owner, whether or not it is wearing a collar and tag or has been microchipped, is classed as a 'stray' - by law the council must detain stray dogs.

We will try to reunite a stray dog with its owners straight away, using details on the collar and tag or microchip. The owner will need to pay a £25 fee for the return of their dog.

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 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.

You can also email us full details of your missing dog to, but we can only deal with your email during office hours.

Other things you should do

If we find your dog

If we find your dog, we will return it to you when you have paid a £25 statutory return fee. This can be paid in cash to the duty dog officer when your dog is returned to you (they will give you a receipt), or by card by phoning 01246 345345.

We keep a register of all lost dogs that are reported to us, and if your dog has a collar/tag and/or a microchip we will make every effort to reunite it with you before taking it to the kennels. 

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 kennelling 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 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

Additional charges may also be made for transportation 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, and, when we know who the owners are, will send them a notice to tell them that we have found their dog.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 is the law that governs how we deal with stray dogs. 

You must pay the fees in full before you can collect your dog - you can pay by cash, debit card or credit card.

Monday to Friday (during office hours)

Payment can be paid over the phone by calling 01246 345345. You will be given a receipt number and the duty dog officer will contact you to make arrangements to reunite you with your dog.

Saturday 9am to 12pm

You can make payment and get a receipt at the payment machine in the Customer Service Centre

Saturday after 12pm, Sunday and bank holidays

You can pay at the kennels, but will need an appointment. Please call us on 0300 323 0076 for more information. 

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 kennelling fees (and if applicable veterinary and transportation fees) to be paid in full prior to your dogs being released.

We are not obliged to offer ‘payment plans’ or ‘payment by invoice’.

Payment can be made over the phone using a credit or debit card by calling 01246 345345. Out of hours, please contact Careline on 0300 323 0076 and you will be given information on how to make payment (cash only to the kennelling facility).

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 will follow up with enforcement 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.

Find out more about getting your dog microchipped.


Last updated on 09 June 2020