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.
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How to report a lost or found dog
To report a lost or found dog please contact the council during office hours by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 01256 844844.
To report a lost or found dog out of office hours please contact the council on 01256 844844. We only respond to secured strays but will take reports of lost, roaming or nuisance dogs.
Stray dogs fees
Upon catching a dog, we will usually 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 owner cannot be contacted or is not at home, the dog will be taken to the council's kennelling facility and there will be a fee for the dog's release.
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), we will only charge the statutory fee, as long as it’s the first time the dog has strayed.
Please note that an additional charge of £62 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 £87 which must be paid to our stray dog contractor before the dog can be returned. This will be contingent upon the dog being correctly tagged and/or chipped with the owner’s details, who shall then make immediate arrangements to receive the dog. There is also an additional charge of £26 if the dog has strayed before.
If the 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. The RSPCA 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. For further information please use the links below:
Please note that you must meet certain criteria to receive the low cost option or vouchers. The criteria will be listed on the websites above.
The RSPCA also offer micro-chipping at a reduced cost for cats and dogs. Please visit their website for further information:
Changes in the law mean all dogs must be microchipped by April 2016. If dogs are not microchipped then their owners will be required to do this. If owners don't comply then they could be prosecuted and fined up to £500.
If your dog becomes lost and is caught by the Dog Warden we will always look for a microchip. If you claim your dog but it is not microchipped, you will be required to have it microchipped. The dog warden will offer to chip it for you for £10.
If your dog has not been a stray but you would like to get it chipped please contact the Dog Warden. 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 email@example.com 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 re-homing is your only option. If you would like advice on how and where you may be able to re-home your dog, please contact the dog warden service or the local RSPCA branch.
Animal welfare - who is responsible?
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.