From 6th April 2016, all dogs in England will need to be micro-chipped. This will ensure that your contact details can be easily traced should your pet ever be lost or stolen. A small chip is inserted under your dog's skin, which can be read by a special scanner to quickly find its owner's name and address. Dogs on a highway or in a public place must also wear a collar and tag with the name and address of the owner inscribed.
Lost and found dogs
The dog warden service deals with reports of lost and found dogs.
To report a lost or found dog please fill in the Lost or found dog form giving us as many details as possible including:
- where the dog was last seen
- description of dog
- collar, tag and microchip number
- your contact details
Or ring 01609 779977 and select the correct option on the out of hours answerphone.
Please be aware we do not collect or release dogs out of hours.
If you find a lost dog please be careful as they can be potentially dangerous. The police deal with dangerous dogs on 101. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 was amended in May 2014. Which states: "It is a criminal offence for the person in charge of the dog to allow it to be 'dangerously out of control' in a public place."
A dog doesn't have to bite to be deemed dangerous in the eyes of the law. If the dog gives the person grounds to feel that the dog may injure them, the law still applies. This applies to public spaces and private property.
What is a stray dog?
Any dog found wandering alone in a public place can be classed as a stray and will be dealt with under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.
We are legally required to deal with stray dogs within our district. Any dog found straying will be picked up for its own safety and either returned to its owner, if known, or taken to kennels for safe keeping.
Our policy is to try and return the dog to its owner whenever possible.
Stray dogs are a nuisance and can harm themselves, other animals or people. They can foul public areas and cause accidents and damage which their owner may be liable for. Dog owners have a legal responsibility to prevent their dogs from straying.
What should I do if I find a stray dog?
If you find a stray dog within the Hambleton District area check to see if it is wearing an identification tag that will enable you to return it directly to its owner. Contacting them directly is the quickest and easiest way to reunite the dog and its owner.
If the dog does not have a tag and you live close to a vet they will be able to scan the dog which may have a microchip with details of the owner.
Alternatively, you can report this to us by calling: 01609 779977. We will then arrange for an authorised officer to contact you.
- it is a criminal offence not to report a stray dog to us
- we can only collect a stray dog that is confined, for example under the control of the finder
- if a dog is reported as roaming near a school or play area then we will try to find the dog
- we can only deal with stray dogs found within the boundaries of our district. If you live in the Hambleton District area but find a dog somewhere else, then you must phone the local authority for the area where you found the dog
- the Police no longer have any responsibility to accept stray dogs
- animal rescue centres cannot accept stray dogs directly off the streets, they can only take dogs that have been directly signed over by their rightful owner for rehoming.
What happens to dogs reported as strays?
Most strays are picked up following calls from members of the public who have found a dog wandering alone.
If we pick up a dog that is wearing a collar and tag or is microchipped (all dogs are scanned) we will attempt to contact its owner to return it, subject to payment of an administration fee.
Dogs without identification or if we have picked it up previously will be taken to kennels where they are kept for seven days. During this time, the owner can reclaim their dog after payment of the appropriate fee.
All dogs unclaimed after seven days automatically become our property and will be rehomed where possible.
How do I claim my dog?
Before a kennelled dog can be returned to its owner proof of ownership must be provided and a release fee has to be paid in full. This fee covers the cost of kennelling the dog and includes a prescribed fee which is made under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. In addition any veterinary fees incurred will also have to be paid.
No dog can be released without full payment of the fees, no instalment arrangements are entered into and the fees cannot be waivered. The longer your dog is in the kennels the more you will have to pay to reclaim it.
The cost for the Dog Warden to return the dog is £49 (inc’ VAT). The costs to reclaim a dog sent to kennel are (inc’ VAT):
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Rehoming stray dogs
The majority of stray dogs are reclaimed by their owners within a few days. Those unclaimed after seven days will be rehomed.
Are stray dogs put to sleep?
A dog would only be put to sleep on veterinary advice to relieve suffering or if the dog was not suitable for rehoming due to its temperament. It is rare that we have to do this.
We are not responsible for:
- dogs of people taken into hospital or care
- dogs belonging to prisoners/people detained by the Police
- dogs of evicted tenants
- rehoming unwanted dogs
It is the law that you identify your dog
All dog owners have a legal obligation under the Control of Dogs Act 1992 to provide their pet with a collar and ID tag that identifies the owner’s name and address, when in a public place. A collar and tag is still a requirement, even if your dog is microchipped. A telephone number is optional (but strongly advisable). An owner can be fined up to £5,000 if the dog is not wearing identification. Dogs exempt from wearing a collar and ID tag in public include: dogs on official duty for the armed forces, HM Customs and Excise or police; sport dogs and packs of hounds; dogs used for capturing or destroying vermin; dogs used for driving/tending cattle or sheep; guide dogs for the blind; and dogs used for emergency rescue work.
It is also a legal requirement for all dogs in England to be microchipped (since 6 April 2016). Stray dogs can sometimes be a problem. A dog that is loose or escapes into a public place and is not under close supervision can sometimes be perceived as a menace. A stray dog will foul, can be aggressive and in some circumstances may attack other dogs or animals or in the worst case attack people. Microchipping your dog is a requirement by law that will not stop your dog straying, however it will greatly improve the chances that your dog and you will be reunited.
How can I update the details on the microchip?
Please remember that if your phone number, home address or email address change, you must update your dog’s microchip information, if you do not, then the microchip is useless.
You will need to know which microchipping database your pet is registered to in the UK. Then you can contact the database directly to make your changes. If you don't have your chip number ask your vet if they will scan it for you.
UK Microchip Databases
You can find additional information on our leaflet 'Responsible dog ownership'