Losing your dog can be
a very stressful time. Many dogs do find
their own way home, but it is recommended that you take immediate
action if your dog is lost. The more identification your dog is
wearing if he becomes lost, the easier it will be for anyone finding
him to get him back home. It is a legal requirement that all dogs
should wear a collar and tag, with the owner's name and address
inscribed on it. More and more dog owners are having their dogs
tatooed or an electronic identity chip implanted in the neck, so that
they can more readily identify their dog.
Lost and Found Dogs
If your dog gets lost on a walk, turn round and follow the route by
which you came, back to its starting point. The dog has two
oportunities to pick up your scent, and can also follow his own
tracks. A dog will often return to the place where you parked the
Many dogs will remain close to the place they became lost, especially
when in woodland, but if the dog has become bewildered it may conceal
itself from humans, even its owners.
Visit the place in which the dog was last seen early in the morning and
at dusk each day and be prepared to wait quietly for some time after
putting bowls of food and water down. Walk about slowly as dogs
see moving figures more easily than those which remain still.
It may help to take a familiar canine companion to the scene, a bitch
in season can work wonders for attracting a male.
Report the loss separately to every police station, veterinary center
and rescue kennels in the area incase the dog has been found injured.
If your dog is wearing an ID tag it is likely that the
police or local authority will return him to you.
In the UK Medallions obtainable from the National Canine Defence League
bear the words 'If found injured, call a veterinary surgeon, the fee
will be paid'. The vets charges remain the owners responsibility,
but you are assured that no-one will be reluctant to have the dog
treated. Most canine veterinary insurance policies give some
cover towards the costs of advertising and reward for a missing dog.
Local Authority Dog
Wardens: These are the people who will
probably pick up your dog if it is straying onto the streets. To find a
contact for your local authority dog warden service visit the National Dog warden
dog wardens work normal office hours Monday - Friday.
The main role of the dog
warden service is to promote responsible dog
ownership. The council has a statutory duty in respect of stray
dogs and the enforcement of by-laws. On a day to day basis dog
wardens deal with stray dogs, dog fouling complaints (including alleged
nuisance caused by dog fouling on private land), and the complaints of
dog barking and dangerous dogs (liasing with the police where Pit-Bull
type dogs are concerned). They have delegated powers under the
Animal Welfare Act to tackle complaints of neglect or ill treatment -
they liase closely with the RSPCA in these cases.
Environmental Health Department: These are the people who will
likely pick your dog up if it has been run over and killed.
Police station: Give them a detailed description of your dog and a
contact number in case he is found. Be sure to get a report reference
number and keep in regular contact with the officer handling your case.
Kennels and rehoming centres: Many local authorities have contracts
with bigger kennels, such as the NCDL and RSPCA, and they may have your
dog in their care.There are also many smaller private kennels where
your dog may have been taken. Look in your local phone book for
Notices: Sometimes a kind hearted member of the
public may have taken your dog in; we strongly recommend against
this, but it does happen. Put up posters in your local area, in shops,
libraries, supermarkets and veterinary surgeries. Also consider
Pet search, a National network of volunteers who will help you look
for your dog. Call them on 01225 705175.
It is essential that you provide your pet with enough mental and
physical stimulation to try and avoid him straying. Dogs stray when
they are bored and looking for adventure.
Another reason for straying is biological urges. To avoid this get your
dog neutered. It will also help you to avoid the unwanted patter of
tiny feet. Soon the 'urge' will go away and he will stop
trying to escape.
To Do If Your Dog Is Stolen
crime to the police and obtain a crime reference number
2. Hand out
leaflets and put up posters
3. Register the
theft on online lost dog websites. Set up a social networking
group to raise awareness of your dog's theft
4. Contact your
local dog warden
posters and details to all vets/pet shops/kennels in your area
6. Double check
all contact details are up to date with tattoo and microchip companies
to the "traveller" liason officer in your county and neighbouring
8. Place an
advert in the local press
your local radio stations
10. Contact your
local animal rescue centres
If you find a dog~ The
law says you must;
Return it to its owner if you
know who they are
Do not be too hasty in collecting a dog which you think is lost.
It may know its way back home and it may be best to leave it.
Examine the dog running loose for a collar tag and any tatooed numbers
possibly in the ear or in the inside thigh. This may give some
indication as to the owners. If the dog is wearing a name tag
contact the owners direct. Be tactful at all times as some owners
can be abusive because they feel worried or guilty.
If you find a dog without a name tag you are legally required to
contact the local dog wardens as
near as possible to the place where you found the dog. If the dog
wardens are unavailable take the dog to the nearest rescue centre or
vet and ask that the dog be checked for any form of ID for
example a microchip.
You should not defer sending it to a rescue society "because you
think they will put it down", since this reduces the owner's chance of
finding it. Remember that however neglected a dog looks, this could be
a result of living rough rather than bad treatment, and somewhere the
owner could be desperately searching for it.
You may be able to keep the dog in your home untill the owners are
found or you may be able to retain it. A dog warden will visit
you and you will be required to keep the dog at your address for a
period of one month and must be prepared to hand the dog back to the
original owner if they claim him back. If you dont keep the dog
it will be cared for in kennels for
7 days after which it becomes the property of the Local Authority. They
can "dispose of it as they think fit" which may mean putting it down
but many areas rehome the dogs or give them to re-homing charities.
Your Dog Warden can advise about shelters in your area who operate a
'non destruction poilicy'
In the case of a dog being retained by the finder, the dog legally
remains 'found property' and the original owner can reclaim him at any
time. Therefore, the dog never truly becomes the property of the
If you find a dog and
would like to adopt it yourself you need to follow the following
Report the fact you have
found the dog to the relevant
When you do this give them your details and let them know you are
interested. You will then go through the usual adoption procedure (if
the owner of the dog has not been found). If the organisation feels you
are the right person for the dog you can adopt it. Remember to keep in
touch with the kennels or dog warden as this will show that you are
serious about rehoming the dog.
If you want to do more, notify rescue groups and Pet search of your
find and put notices in local shop windows/ newpapers.
If you want to keep the dog, ask the Dog Warden for a notice entitling
you to do so. If you just keep it you are guilty of theft.
Your Dog Safe
Don't leave your dog outside
when you're not around.
Never leave your dog unattended. It takes only a moment to untie him
lead him off.
Be aware, and make sure your neighbours are aware, of the problem of
theft. Let your neighbours know if you are expecting people on your
if you are not around, so they know to call the police if someone
Never allow your dog to roam free in the neighbourhood for everyone's
sake. Male dogs are more motivated to wander from home than
females. Secure your property. Ensure the fence is solid and unbroken,
and of a height to enclose the dog. For dogs with an inclination
to dig or burrow, fencing must be buried in the ground. Make sure your
gate is closed (and preferably locked).
Never leave your dog unattended in a car.
Always make sure he wears a collar with his ID tags. You might want to
consider implanting a microchip under his skin. Rescue Centers and
veterinary hospitals use microchips to identify lost animals and
reunite them with their owners.
Keep recent photos of your dog, taken from different angles that
clearly show coat type and colouring, close-ups of the face and any
exceptional physical characteristics.
Keep all your proof-of-ownership papers (adoption, breeding contract,
of sale) in one place to prove ownership.
If the unthinkable happens, don't panic. Call the police and the local
dog warden if you believe
your dog has been stolen, then begin your own search. Contact your
local vet surgery. Staff will be able to keep an eye on the
animals coming in but ask them if you can also put up a poster about
your missing dog. Search the area,
to neighbours and passersby. Get in touch with all animal rescue
centers in your area and contact your local media - newspapers, radio
and TV if possible. The more publicity, the greater the chances
are that your dog will be found. Walk or drive slowly through the
several times daily. Hand out copies of recent photographs.
Notify The Kennel Club if your pet is a pedigree and let your insurers
know. Post an entry on missing pet websites.
If you are reunited with your pet remember to notify everyone.