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Finding a Stray Dog

What you should do if you find a stray dog.

Finding stray dogs

If you find a stray dog you are legally required to report it to the dog warden in the area in which the dog was found.

Dogs must have a collar and tag on whilst in a public place according to the Control of Dogs Order 1992. The maximum fine for failure to do this is £5000. Responsible dog owners may also have their dog identity micro chipped.

Working dogs are exempt from the legislation but only whilst they are working. (Farmers do not usually take kindly to their sheepdog being picked up as a stray)!

A stray is a dog that is outside of its owner's property or other area where it is permitted to be, without supervision. If you find a dog that you think is a stray, please do the following

Can you return the dog to its owner by:

  • Referring to the information on the collar
  • Local neighbour enquiries
  • Taking it to a vet to scan for an identity microchip

If you cannot contact the owner:

Please report it to us.

  • You can report the following information:
  • Breed/sex of dog
  • Colour & distinguishing features
  • Is it friendly and approachable?
  • Where & when was it found?
  • Does the dog have any identification?
  • What actions have you taken?

We then may be able to collect the dog. 

Out of office hours - advice if you have found a dog

Our office hours are Monday - Friday 9am to 5pm.

The options available to someone who has found a dog are;

  • You can keep the Stray Dog until the next working day. You should make local enquiries to identify the dog owner, who is likely to live nearby. If the owner cannot be located, you must then report finding the Stray Dog to us on 01822 813600 during office hours. The dog owner may be known by us after being reported or the Stray Dog will be collected from you by a us and taken to Wingletang.
  • You can take the Stray Dog yourself to Wingletang, Brentor near Tavistock  -  only between 0800hrs -2000hrs everyday of the year. The dog will be kennelled by Wingletang as a Stray Dog on behalf of us.

Wingletang Kennels (Margaret Green Animal Rescue) have a contract with us to accommodate their Stray Dogs found in our Borough. Their premises are located near Brentor Tavistock PL19 0LF and telephone number 01822 810215. The dogs will be cared for at Wingletang until the owner is found or the dog is re-homed.

We do not collect dogs from finders outside of 0900 hrs to 1600 hrs Monday to Friday. Our offices are also closed on Bank Holidays and during the Christmas and New Year period.

Further information

DO NOT keep, sell, give away or abandon any dog you find. This is against the law. The council must keep the dog for 7 clear days. If the owner does not come forward in that time, the dog will be re-homed, if it is possible to do so.

There is a statutory charge and kennel fees to be paid prior to reclaiming the dog. These costs may reflect an out-of-hours collection fee too.

If you regularly see a loose dog in the neighbourhood, please report with as much detail as possible to the dog warden.