Stray Dogs and The Law

Most dog owners are now aware of the legal requirement to microchip their dogs but may not be aware of the requirement that they must also wear a collar and identification. 

The Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved or written on it or engraved on a tag. A contact telephone number is optional but is highly recommended. The penalty for not complying can be a fine of up to £5,000. If a dog is lost, the easiest and quickest way of reuniting the dog with its owner is by using the details on its collar and tag.

At Hope Rescue we often get microchipped dogs brought in as strays and the owners are under the impression that they do not need to pay the statutory fine and kennel charges as their dog is chipped. This is not true. A microchip enables the dog warden or pound to reunite you with your pet, but if they cannot get hold of you and the dog is impounded, then the fees apply. 

If your dog is brought in out of hours once the pound is closed, you will also have to wait until the next day to reclaim it. 

Some owners also think the law doesn't apply if their pet has escaped, insisting it is not a "stray", but the legal definition of a stray dog is not an abandoned dog, but a dog which is running free in a public place without its owner being present. It therefore makes no difference if the dog has accidentally escaped, has been released without the authority of the owner, or has been deliberately abandoned or allowed to roam.

Please ensure your dog has a collar and tag, as well as a microchip, and that all details are kept up to date.

We would also advise owners not to include the dog's name on the tag but your details are essential. Most good pet shops will be able to help and advise you on the information to include.