What To Do If You Find A Dog

Many people spot an unaccompanied dog on the side of, or even on, the road and worry it’s going to get run over. It’s only natural to want to rescue an animal in this situation but please make sure you don’t put yourself in danger while doing so.  If you are driving, make sure you park your car sensibly before trying to catch the stray, and take care crossing any necessary roads.

Don’t go racing up to a strange dog and grab its collar. If you are a dog owner, you may have a spare lead in your car. If so, and the dog seems friendly, try and slip the lead on as calmly and carefully as possible. In the absence of a lead, use rope, string, a belt or item of clothing can be used to restrain the dog. You may need to lasso the dog with your ‘lead’ rather than attach it to the dog’s collar if it looks like it might object to being touched around its neck.

This is a good time to see if the dog is wearing an identification tag; by law every dog should wear a tag bearing their owners details but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t have one. If there is a phone number and the owner picks up, you are in luck. If not, then you’ll need to decide what you are going to do with your stray dog.

Any unaccompanied dog can be handed over to your local Dog Warden. If you can’t wait for them, or the dog appears injured or ill, you should take it to your local Vet clinic. They will check it over, scan it for a microchip and contact the Dog Warden who will come and pick it up.

Please don’t take it to the police station; the police no longer look after lost dogs. However, if the dog is aggressive or is running around in traffic then you should ring the police with a description of the dog, how it’s behaving and its whereabouts.

If the dog is merely resisting capture, don’t follow in hot pursuit. If you have the time, you can follow it at a distance,  and it may be worthwhile ringing the local dog warden and describing the dog and the direction it is heading in. Ring any local veterinary clinics and give them the same information.

If you manage to catch the dog and are an experienced dog owner, and feel you can care for it yourself, you are allowed to take the dog home, as long as you give its details to the council’s Dog Warden service. They will want to know;

  • Your contact details. This includes your name, address, telephone number and email address.
  • A description of the dog including the type or breed of dog, its colour and size, approximate age and any features that might help to identify it. They will also want to know if it has a collar.
  • 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.

It’s also worthwhile informing your local vet clinics that you have found a dog and giving them the above information as well.

In fact, it may be a good idea to take the dog up to the vets and get it scanned, as it may have a microchip inserted in its neck and the staff may recognise the dog. It’s worth remembering that if you choose to look after the dog yourself, and it gets ill, then you may be liable for any veterinary costs incurred.




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