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What to Do if You Find a Stray Dog

By: Jane Pullen - Updated: 13 Mar 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
What To Do If You Find A Stray Dog

Dogs that are stray and running wild can be a hazard. When a stray dog is found, it is important to take action quickly to stop the dog from hurting himself or causing traffic accidents. It is also a legal requirement to report stray dogs. A stray dog that is in the street or entering into school premises will be urgently dealt with by the authorities and should be reported immediately.

Reporting a Stray Dog

If a stray dog is found, the first thing to do is to report it to the proper authorities. A stray dog can be reported to both the police and the local authority. When reporting a stray dog the following information is required:

  • The contact details of the person finding the dog. This includes name, address, telephone number and email address.
  • A description of the dog. This should include the type or breed of dog, its colour and size, approximate age and any features that might help to identify it.
  • The time and date when the dog was found
  • Where the dog was found
  • Where the dog currently is and where it can be collected from
  • Other important information such as whether the dog is injured or ill
The Directgov website has contact information for many different local authorities. People finding a dog need simply to enter their postal code and the relevant contact information will be provided.

Getting a Stray Dog into Secure Space

A friendly dog may be quite happy to be led into a safe and secure environment such as a garden. He may be encouraged with a few tasty tidbits or morsels of food. This will stop the dog from wandering further and will make it easier for the authorities to find him. If the dog is friendly, then this is also a good opportunity to check him for any identification. This includes whether he has a name tag on his collar or other means of identification.

Keeping a Stray Dog

A stray dog legally has to be reported even if someone wants to keep it. This means that the original owners can find the dog if they want to and that there is a record of where the stray dog is being kept. Before deciding on whether to keep a stray dog it is important to consult with the local authority or dog warden about any legal requirements. While giving a home to a stray dog may seem a good thing to do, there are many things to consider. A dog may have been injured or contracted an illness when living rough, he may also have behavioural or personality disorders. Adopting a dog from an animal rescue centre or shelter may be a better alternative. Dogs from animal welfare centres will have been checked by a vet and treated for any health problems.

Reporting a stray dog is important as it means that the dog will be cared for in a safe environment and will not be a risk to others.

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[Add a Comment]
Linus - Your Question:
Please please please I really need some advice, a very small breed of dog wondered into my garden whilst I was playing with my dog, no collar, I went into the street to see if I could see anyone or hear anyone shouting, I stayed outside for 30 mins but nothing/no-one came. I called local vets and took him to see if he was chipped, he wasn't, I placed adverts on Facebook lost and found dogs and contacted the dog warden. I couldn't keep the dog at my house as my dog had just been spayed and as I didn't know the history I didn't want to risk my dog. My daughters partner took the dog to his house, we informed the dog warden and they collected the dog the next day. When he was collected my daughters partner asked if he could keep the dog, the warden gave 2 options, keep the dog for 30 days but if owner came forward you'd have to give up the dog or place in kennels for 7 days and then legally he would own the dog if not claimed or collected. The owner came forward on th 6th day but could not afford the kennel costs, in the meantime my daughter and her partner visited and was encoraged to place a deposit which they did. Now the kennels will not allow the adoption we have been told numerous tales including the owner collected, previous owner lives too close, another family have adopted him and he's still in the kennels. Do we have any legal rights to the dog and if so who do we need to contact to help, asked the dogs trust and they advised us to call the police.

Our Response:
Many rescue centres have specific criteria attached to the re-homing of animals. For instance the centre may refuse to re-home dogs in a specific catchment area, to people under 18, or to those who are on income support or in receipt of benefits, or whether they live in rented accommodation. They may also take into account whether there are children in a family, or whether the owners are out of the house all day. In a nutshell, the centres want to re-home the dog as near as it can to what it thinks is the dog's general needs. I'm afraid, it means you have little in the way of rights if you have not met this specific centre's criteria. I can only suggest you write to the centre and state that you have been given varying answers and you wish to know the reason why the centre has refused to hand over the dog.
SaveAPet - 14-Mar-16 @ 11:47 AM
Please please please I really need some advice, a very small breed of dog wondered into my garden whilst I was playing with my dog, no collar, I went into the street to see if I could see anyone or hear anyone shouting, I stayed outside for 30 mins but nothing/no-one came. I called local vets and took him to see if he was chipped, he wasn't, I placed adverts on Facebook lost and found dogs and contacted the dog warden. I couldn't keep the dog at my house as my dog had just been spayed and as I didn't know the history I didn't want to risk my dog. My daughters partner took the dog to his house, we informed the dog warden and they collected the dog the next day. When he was collected my daughters partner asked if he could keep the dog, the warden gave 2 options, keep the dog for 30 days but if owner came forward you'd have to give up the dog or place in kennels for 7 days and then legally he would own the dog if not claimed or collected. The owner came forward on th 6th day but could not afford the kennel costs, in the meantime my daughter and her partner visited and was encoraged to place a deposit which they did. Now the kennels will not allow the adoption we have been told numerous tales including the owner collected, previous owner lives too close, another family have adopted him and he's still in the kennels. Do we have any legal rights to the dog and if so who do we need to contact to help, asked the dogs trust and they advised us to call the police.
Linus - 13-Mar-16 @ 10:37 AM
@Animal Lover - you could contact the RSPCA via the link here and perhaps have a chat and see what they suggest. I hope this helps.
SaveAPet - 2-Jul-15 @ 9:57 AM
What happens if a dog gets out from a house where you know it is not treated very well (kept in a pen on its own for most of the time where it howls because it is lonely).I would like to rescue it and find it another home where it will be treated properly and more to the point, loved. It is a very friendly little dog and really enjoys himself when he gets out which is very occasionally.
Animal Lover - 29-Jun-15 @ 11:25 AM
@C - Obviously as the dog is chipped then the officially dog belongs to someone else and it would be unkind of you to assume responsibility of it, just because you happened to pick it up (as kind as that was). It may be that the dog has a loving owner and family and somehow it just escaped or got lost (which happens all the time). The kennels will contact the owner and inform them their dog has been found. The best thing I think you can do is to contact the kennels and put your name down, saying if the owner doesn't come forward or doesn't want ownership, then you would like to take it.
Heather - 2-Mar-15 @ 9:56 AM
I found a dog in my very busy road and rescued it from being run over/hurt. It did have a collar but no name tag so I took it to the local veterinary surgery who said that the dog had been chipped and that they would get in touch with the owners.They would not let me keep the dog and have the owner collect the dog from my home, nor would they even tell me her name despite me rescuing her. How come they resumed responsibility of the dog and insisted that I leave the dog against my better judgement? Are they legally in charge of the dog now? The poor dog was just in one of their kennels when I called to check what had happened to her. I am not comfortable with this situation please can you give me the legalities of such. Many thanks
C - 25-Feb-15 @ 9:46 PM
There is a stray dog in our street who has gone into the neighbours bins and has made a right mess everywhere. When i went to shoo him away he ran at me with teeth showing and i manage to make it to the safety of my house and shut the door. He is a large dog a montrel mix with labrador and rockweiler but is very thin considering his size.
matt - 27-Sep-14 @ 2:28 PM
I would like to add that if you find a dog that appears to be stray please report it to the authorities as soon as you can. My dog escaped from my back garden last year and despite me searching locally and ringing around all the authorities and rescue centres nobody had any news of him. I was distraught and thought I had lost him forever.it turns out that after my searching all night and most of the next day a kindly local person (who I didn't know) had taken him in but had not reported to the authorities that she had done so until nearly 24 hours had passed. Whilst I was extremely grateful to her for keeping my dog safe a lot of heartache and worry could have been avoided.
DogLover - 19-Jun-12 @ 2:55 PM
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