Stray dogs

A dog that is loose or escapes into a public place and is not under supervision is considered to be a stray dog. The Council has a statutory responsibility to collect stray dogs for their own welfare and for public safety.

What happens when a stray dog is collected?

If a dog has a collar or microchip identifying its owner, the dog will be returned straight back to the owner's address. It will only be returned if the owner is at home. If an owner cannot be contacted or identified the dog will be kennelled for safe keeping.

In both cases the owner will have to pay a collection fee to the Council. 

In the event of the owner not being found, the Council will liaise with charities so it can be re-homed.

How much is the return fee and what does it cover?

Dog owners will have to pay a collection fee plus any kennelling charges before the dog can be returned.

Please call the Council on 01992 785577 for current charges. 

Please note: If a visit to the vet is considered necessary, then veterinary charges incurred will be added to the return fee.

What should I do if I find a stray dog?

You should report the matter to the Council on 01992 785577, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday or 01992 785528 outside of these times. You will be asked to provide the following details:

  • Your name and contact details
  • A description of the dog and its location

What should I do if I have lost my dog?

Contact the Council on 01992 785577, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, to provide:

  • Your name and contact details
  • A description of the dog
  • Details of when and where you last saw your dog

The Council will check the details against its database to see if the dog has been collected. If it has been collected, arrangements can be made to return the dog once any fees are paid. If the Council does not have any record of your dog you can also report it as missing to the Police.

How can I re-home a stray dog?

Dogs that have been held for more than seven days are made available for re-homing via charity organisations. For more information please call the Council on 01992 785577.

Keeping a stray dog

You must return a stray dog to its owner if you know who the owner is. Otherwise you must contact the council (01992 785577).

Tell the council you want to keep the dog. They’ll probably check you’re suitable as a dog owner before you can adopt it.

Even if you adopt it, the legal ownership of the dog is never transferred to you.

This means that the original owner could claim their dog back at any time, even if you’ve had the dog for several months or years.


Any stray dogs collected are scanned for microchips to help identify the dog's owner. Dog chipping, which is considered to be good practice, is offered by many veterinary practices to increase the chances of dogs being reunited with their owners if they get lost. The Government has passed legislation which makes it illegal not to have your dog chipped from April 2016.