Stray and lost dogs

A stray dog is one that is roaming free in a public space without its owner being present, whether it is wearing a collar and tag or has been microchipped, it is classed as a 'stray'.

Finding an owner

If you find a stray dog please try and secure it so that it can't escape again, but only if you can do so safely. If you have access to social media you may be able to locate the owner of the dog as the owner may appeal for information there, or you can share the details of the dog you have found to try and locate the owner.

If the dog has a collar and tag please contact the person named on the tag. If you are near a vets surgery or pet shop, you may be able to take the dog there to check for a microchip - if the dog has up to date microchip details the owner can be contacted. If you are unable to contact the owners you can contact us on 01246 242424 and we will arrange to collect the dog from you as soon as possible.

Council stray dog collection service

We are available to collect stray dogs between 9am and 3.30pm Monday to Friday. If you find a dog outside these hours we can collect the dog from you the next working day or you can take the dog directly to the kennels.

How to report a dog you have found

If you find a dog please report this via our Self Service portal or call us on 01246 242424. We will need the following information:

  • your name, address and contact details
  • a full description of the dog
  • when and where you found it
  • whether the dog has a collar and tag, and any contact details that are on it

If you report a found dog during office hours we will call you back to arrange collection of the dog from you as soon as possible, usually the same day if possible.

Taking the dog direct to our kennels

Our kennels are available to receive stray dogs directly from members of the public during certain days and times. If you can arrange to take the dog to the kennels then please contact us on 01246 242424 and we will give you the details for the kennels.

What if I can’t contain the dog

Please still report it to us as we are equipped to catch dogs on the loose and we will inform the police.

Aggressive dogs

If a dog is behaving aggressively and someone has been attacked or bitten, call the police non-emergency number 101. If it is an emergency situation call the police on 999; do not approach an aggressive dog.

Can I keep a stray dog?

If you find and report a stray dog you wish to keep we can complete a ‘retained by finder’ form meaning you are required to be responsible for the found dog for 28-days.

If the owner comes forward within that 28-day period you must hand the dog over to them but, if after this period, no one comes forward to collect the dog, the ownership of the dog will transfer to you.

My dog is missing

If your dog is missing then please still report it to us, as someone may have found it or we may have collected it as a stray and placed it in our kennels. Be sure to check local social media groups as often people share information there relating to stray dogs. If we collect a stray dog we will make every effort to bring the dog back to you free of charge, which is why it is important you place a collar and tag on your dog with the correct information, and it has an up to date microchip.


If an owner successfully claims a dog which is not microchipped, or the details are incorrect, the dog can be implanted with a microchip and registered, or the details updated on the relevant database with support from the holding kennels. There may be a charge for this service.

If an owner fails to agree to have the dog implanted with a microchip or ensure the details of the existing microchip are updated, we will issue a 21-day notice under the Microchipping of Cats and Dogs (England) Regulations 2023 requiring them to:

  • Have a microchip implanted in their dog and the details registered on a government approved microchip database
  • Or to update contact and/or owner details on the existing microchip database.

Failure to comply may result in prosecution and a £500 fine.

Collecting my dog from the kennels

If your dog has been collected and placed in our kennels then you will need to contact us and pay the relevant fees for your dog to be released. There is a statutory fee of £25, and a daily charge plus any veterinary fees required. Dogs that have been kennelled may be vaccinated.


 01246 242424
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