Animal welfare

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The council deals with dog related matters, including stray dogs and the enforcement of dog fouling law. The council also works with other agencies in connection with animal welfare matters.

Animals and the heat

Take extra care of your animals during spells of hot weather. Never leave them in hot cars, conservatories, outbuildings or caravans, even if it's just for a short time.

If you feel that an animal is at risk of harm due to being exposed to excessive heat, please call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or 999 in an emergency.

There’s lots of advice on keeping your pet cool during the summer months on the RSPCA’s website.

Report a lost or found dog

We only respond to secured strays but will take reports of lost, roaming or nuisance dogs. Call us on 01256 844844.

We log reports of lost and found domestic pets, so if your pet is missing you can report it to us. Details of where your pet was last seen and any distinguishing features will help us answer your query.

Contact us

Stray dogs fees

Upon catching a dog, we will try to contact the owner if the address or telephone number is known. Ownership may be identified by a collar with tag, or by microchip. If the dog is returned to its owner within half an hour of collection, or any additional time as deemed appropriate by the Dog Warden Service (before we have taken the dog to the kennels), the charge will be £44.56, as long as it’s the first time the dog has strayed.

If the owner cannot be contacted or is not at home, the dog will be taken to the council's kennelling facility and there will be further fees for the dog's return. The full range of fees are as follows:

No. of days occupancy in kennels* Stray dog fees
Returned to owner without kennelling £44.56
One day kennelling £67.90
Two days kennelling £89.12
Three days kennelling £112.46
Four days kennelling £135.80
Five days kennelling £157.01
Six days kennelling £180.35
Seven days kennelling £201.57
Out of hours collection fee £84.87
Discretionary handling fee** £29.71
* All charges include the £25.75 statutory fee
** A discretionary handling fee may be applied where the dog has strayed before or there are other extenuating factors.

Please note that in addition to kennelling fees, there is a charge of £84.87 if the dog is collected out-of-hours. If the captured dog is to be returned to its owner out of hours, the total fee will be £84.87 which must be paid to our stray dog contractor before the dog can be returned. This can only be done if the dog’s microchip details are up to date. In this situation owners will need to make immediate arrangements to receive the dog. There is also an additional charge of £29.71 if the dog has strayed before.

If a stray dog isn’t claimed within seven days, the dog's ownership defaults to the council who may then take steps to rehome the dog. If a dog is not reclaimed after seven days it is usually rehomed by a dog rescue centre, but not in the area near to where the dog was originally found.

Dogs will be assessed, have their new home checked, and will be neutered to prevent further unwanted litters. Dogs are not put to sleep unless they are suffering from severe illness or are too dangerous to rehome.


The council would always recommend that owners get their dogs (and cats) neutered at an appropriate age. This can often help with behaviour, but also will avoid situations where dogs (or cats) unintentionally become pregnant with the resultant unwanted puppies (or kittens).

The local RSPCA branch may be able to assist you with getting your dog or cat neutered, they also offer a neutering scheme for people in receipt of benefits. The RSPCA, Dogs Trust and Blue Cross (amongst others) offer low cost options or vouchers. Please note that you must meet certain criteria to receive the low cost option or vouchers.

The RSPCA also offer micro-chipping at a reduced cost for cats and dogs. Please visit the RSPCA website for further information on microchipping.

Neutering costs

Under 10kg - £80
10 - 25kg - £90
25 - 40kg - £100
Over 40kg - £110
Cat Male

Get your dog or cat microchipped

You must make sure your dog is fitted with a microchip and registered on a database by the time it’s 8 weeks old.

From 10 June 2024, cats in England will need to be microchipped and registered on a database by the time they’re 20 weeks old.

You can be fined up to £500 if your dog or cat is not microchipped when they need to be.

The council also works with charities such as the Dogs Trust and the RSPCA, and free micro-chipping events will be run from time to time. Your local vet will also be able to assist. If you would like further information please contact the Dog Warden by emailing or telephone 01256 844844.

Responsible dog ownership

All dogs must be kept under control at all times. This includes preventing them from being aggressive, straying, barking unnecessarily and keeping them on a lead where appropriate. Please remember that not all dogs are friendly towards other dogs. Irrespective of how ‘friendly’ your dog might be, if they approach other dogs, the attention may be unwanted and lead to problems. This is also true of people, as ‘friendly’ as your dog might be this will be of little comfort to adults and children who are afraid of dogs.

By law, all dogs must also wear a collar and tag stating the owner's name and address. In cases where a dog becomes lost, it will be a lot easier for it to be reunited with its owner. It also means the dog warden is less likely to be involved and avoids any costs being incurred.

Giving up your dog

There may be a number of reasons you cannot continue to look after your dog, and as a last resort may have decided rehoming is your only option. If you would like advice on how and where you may be able to rehome your dog, please contact the dog warden service or the local RSPCA branch.

Responsibility for animal welfare

Any person who is responsible for an animal has a legal duty to ensure they are meeting all of the needs of that animal as required by good practice. All animals have different needs but all reasonable steps must be taken to provide the most basic, which include the need:

  • for a suitable environment (place to live)
  • for a suitable diet
  • to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • to be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable)
  • to be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease

The guide below has been prepared to help you find out who you need to contact in relation to a variety of animal welfare matters, including a section on responsible dog ownership and care.

PDF document Animal welfare - who is responsible(PDF) [4 Mb]

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