Lost dogs

Losing your dog is a very distressing experience and we hope that the information given below will help you in your search.

The Law

The Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that any dog in a public place must wear a collar or collar and tag with the owner's name, address and postcode clearly engraved or written on it. It does not stipulate that a telephone number is given, but it is strongly advised. 

The law does not require your dog's name on the collar or tag, and with dog theft an ever increasing crime we advise that the dog's name is not displayed as this makes it much easier for someone to entice a friendly dog away.

You can be fined for your dog not wearing a collar or tag displaying the information required by law.


However, collars and tags can be lost, damaged or fade making identification of a found dog incredibly difficult or impossible. We strongly advise that every dog is microchipped in addition to wearing the collar and tag. This is the first thing looked for by a Dog Warden when recovering a stray dog and the only real chance of ensuring you are reunited.

A microchip can be implanted by any registered implanter, most often this is at your veterinary surgery. The chip itself is very small and sits just under the skin on the back of the dogs neck. The implanter will then register the chip with the relevant company, giving details about your dog's age, gender, breed and markings, along with your name, address and contact details. 

It is essential that if you move or change your telephone number you inform the microchip company immediately.

Microchips can occasionally move, so it is wise to ask your vet to check that the chip is in the correct place, and still functioning when you go for the yearly vaccination booster or health check.

Reporting a Lost Dog

If you lose your dog and it is microchipped, inform the chip company immediately. 

Notify your local council Dog Warden - their number can usually be found on your local government website, or via their switchboard. Give a very clear description, it is much easier for a match to be made when there is plenty of information.

Inform all local vets and rescue centres. If your dog was adopted from a rescue, inform them too as the dog may be returned to them.

Your local council dog pound is where all found dogs are taken, so ask the council or the Dog Warden for the number and call EVERY day. Once found, the law only requires the council to hold the dog for 7 days, after which time if unclaimed it can be rehomed, passed to rescue or put to sleep. New dogs are brought in every day and a match to a description can sometimes be missed, so it is essential that you keep in touch and keep your dog's details fresh in everyone's minds. 

What Else Can You Do?

Keeping the dog's details fresh in everyone's minds is essential. Get the word out via posters, flyers and word of mouth. Ask your local shops, pubs, libraries, social centres to display a poster. Ask local schools to inform staff and pupils. Utilise any situation where word can be got out.

There are a number of fantastic resources on the internet for reporting a lost dog and getting help and support in your search. The links below are some of those organisations.

We wish you luck in your search and hope that your missed pet is back with you very soon

Found Dogs

If you have found a dog the process is very similar to reporting a lost dog.

You must by law report a found dog. Failure to do so could lead to prosecution. Your local Dog Warden can be contacted through your local council, the details can be found on your local government website, or via their telephone switchboard.

The council have a duty to collect the dog from you and hold it in council kennels for a minimum of 7 days, giving the owner a chance to be reunited.

However, there are some things you can do to help locate an owner:

1. Many dogs are lost in their local area, so going door to door and asking if anyone recognises the dog is useful.

2. Taking the dog to your local vet and asking them to scan for a microchip can often reunite a dog before needing to go to the pound.

3. Posters, flyers and word of mouth about the dog you have found, can help to locate an owner - but be careful of giving too many specific details that would allow a con artist to claim the dog is theirs; keep back any details that are specific to the dog and that only a genuine owner would know (eg: stating that the dog is 'wearing a collar', but not the colour of the collar).

As the finder of the dog you do have an option to keep the dog with you for 28 days whilst looking for an owner, and if not claimed you can ask to keep the dog. You must still report the dog to the Dog Warden when found but can ask about the option to keep the dog in your care. The Dog Warden will want to check that you are an appropriate carer for the dog and there will be paperwork to sign. However, be aware that an owner can still turn up after the 28 days and if they can prove the dog is theirs the law does not give any protection for the finder. 

The links given above in relation to losing a dog, are also appropriate for the finder of a dog. Even if you have handed the dog over to the dog warden you can register the dog as found on any of the sites linked to above as this may help an owner locate their loved pet before its time runs out in the council pound.

For more information on your local council's policy regarding lost and found dogs please visit your local government website. You can find this by clicking here.