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I've Found a Dog - What do I do?

22 October 2014

UK - Many people think they should contact the police if they find a stray dog. Since a change in the law a few years ago, this is no longer the case. Here’s the Blue Cross guide on what to do if you find a stray dog…

If you come across a stray dog, check to see if they are wearing a tag with the owner’s details on.

If they are, and you are happy to do this, contact the owner and arrange to give them back their dog.

I don’t know the owner’s contact details

If the dog is not wearing a tag with the owner’s information, or if you are unable to get close enough to the dog to read the contact information, contact your local authority dog warden via your local council.

You can find contact details on your local council’s website

Local authorities are legally responsible for stray dogs and will come and collect the dog from you and take them to a holding kennels while they wait for the owner to claim them.

Register the dog as “found” on DogLost – a national lost and found dog website. It is free to do this.

Give as much information about the dog and where you found the dog as you can. If possible, upload a photograph of the dog you have found too.

Can I just leave a stray dog alone?

Anyone who finds a stray dog has a legal obligation to attempt to reunite them with their owner, either by trying to contact the owner or by notifying the local authority.

Although it might be tempting to keep the dog, you are legally required to tell the council about any stray dogs, and if you don’t, you could be accused of theft.

Plus, there may well be a loving owner out there who is desperately searching for their missing pet, and if the dog is microchipped, it should be easy for the council to reunite them.

It’s really easy to get attached to dogs, so please do let someone know you have found them as soon as possible.

I want to keep the stray dog

If you want to keep the dog, let the local authority know this when you contact them and they might be able to arrange for you to rehome them if no one claims them.

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