Found Dogs

Information on what to do if you find a stray dog.

Hope, a small emaciated dog wearing a little red sweater.What do I do if I have found a dog?

Check to see if the dog is wearing any form of identification that will enable you to return him/her directly to their owner

It is a legal requirement that all finders of stray dogs report it to the Local Authority Neighbourhood Warden Service straight away to enable owners to be reunited with their pets

If you find a stray dog between 8.30am and 4pm Monday to Sunday then our Neighbourhood Wardens are available to collect the dog - please contact us on 0115 917 7777.

We are unable to collect found dogs outside of our normal working hours and finders will need to  please call 0115 917 7777 and follow the emergency instructions.

If you are unable to transport a dog

You are advised according to current legislation that: The finder of a stray dog is legally responsible for the dog while it is in their possession; any person who takes possession of a stray dog has a responsibility to return it to the owner if they know where they live or the finder must keep the dog safe providing it with water until such time as the dog can be either:

  • Collected the next available working day
  • The dogs owners are located via social media.

Injured / ill dogs finders should call our designated veterinary centre for advice (The PDSA Clinic in Dunkirk, call them on 0115 978 9143) or call RSPCA emergency line 0300 1234 9999.

Please note that vets / re-homing organisations cannot take strays directly off the street or from well-meaning members of the public except under certain medical emergency situations.

A small female dog rescued by the Neighbourhood Wardens

What if I would like to adopt the dog that I have found?

  • Even if you are keen to adopt the dog, you will have to contact the Neighbourhood Warden Service and wait the statutory 7 day holding period
  • The Neighbourhood Warden can then pass on your details to the kennels and if they feel you are suitable. If the owner is not found you will be expected to go through their normal adoption criteria for transfer of ownership
  • If you decide to keep the dog in your home, you must inform the Local Authority Neighbourhood Warden Service who will visit you take photographs of the dog and check it for a microchip. You are then obliged by law to keep the dog for a period of 28 days. After this period you can keep the dog until such time that a person with proof of ownership claims the dog. Legal ownership is not transferred to you and the original owner may demand the dog back at any time, no matter how long you have kept them or how much money you have spent (including any vet's fees)

Why is it not advisable to look after the dog in my own home?

  • It is a legal requirement for you to inform the Local Authority Neighbourhood Warden Service (Dog Control Officer) if you take in a stray dog. If you don't, you could be accused of theft
  • The description of the dog you leave with the Local Authority may not accurately match up to that of the owner looking for their dog, which could then prevent an owner from getting their much loved pet back
  • The dog should by law have a microchip, which will not be scanned unless contact is made with the Local Authority who will check the dog for a microchip
  • It is very easy to become emotionally attached to them. Handing the dog back to the owner can be very traumatic
  • If the owner reclaims the dog through the Local Authority Neighbourhood Warden Service this will enable the Dog Control Officer to discuss the responsibilities of dog ownership, and give advice on continued security and identification and follow up the case if necessary

The loss of a dog often causes great distress on the part of the owner. In our experience, handing the dog over to the Local Authority will give the owner the greatest chances of being reunited with their much loved companion.

Neighbourhood Wardens
tel: 0115 917 3142