All dogs should be kept under control at all times and not allowed to roam freely. Any dog found in a public place or any land without the consent of the owner may be reasonably deemed to be a stray dog and can be seized as such. It is a requirement under the Control of Dogs Order 1992 for the owners of dogs to ensure that their dog wears a collar and tag when in public, giving at least the name and address of the dog’s owner / keeper. It is also helpful to provide a telephone number. Since the introduction of the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015, it is now also a legal requirement for most dogs over 8 weeks of age to be microchipped, giving information on the microchip which includes the name, address and telephone number (if any) of the keeper.
Where a dog is found straying then the Council will make reasonable enquiries to try to reunite it with the dog’s rightful owner. This is usually possible if the contact details of the dog’s owner / keeper are provided on any collar, tag or microchip. Where no indications of ownership are given, or the details appear to be out of date, we may use social media as a tool to bring people’s attention to the fact that a dog has been found in a certain area and so hopefully prompt the owner to reclaim their dog.
If the owner does not come forward quickly then the dog will be taken to temporary accommodation at Three Oaks Kennels, Botley Road, Bishops Waltham, SO32 1DR, from which the dog may be reclaimed between the hours of 8am and 5pm daily. The reclaim of stray dogs is subject to the presentation of valid identification (such as a driving licence or utility bill to help verify the name and address of the claimant) and also payment of a reclaim fee of £60.00, plus current kennelling fees and any other expenses incurred (such as veterinary fees and excess transport costs) where appropriate.
The owner has seven days to reclaim their dog after it is seized or handed in, otherwise under section 149 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 the ownership of the dog will transfer to the Council and the dog will normally be rehomed. Where indications of ownership of the dog (with a contact address) are found then a formal notice will be served on that person in order to notify him/her that the dog is in the Council’s possession, how to claim it and that, if not claimed within seven days, ownership of the dog will transfer to the Council with a view to permanently rehoming the dog.
If you have lost your dog then we suggest you should always check social media first because it is quite likely that someone locally will have found your dog already and is looking for whoever it belongs to. We advise that you post a photograph of your dog, together with a brief description, on social media because this will encourage anyone who has seen your dog, or has it in their possession, to respond and help you to be reunited with your dog. There are a lot of dog owners, both professionals and pet owners, who routinely help other dog owners find lost dogs very quickly. Online dog reuniting services may also be worth a try. The Council has an arrangement with Three Oaks Kennels in Bishops Waltham to provide a safe drop off facility for stray dogs and so you may wish to contact Three Oaks Kennels (tel. 01489 892760) to see if your dog has been handed in or otherwise reported to them.
If you have found a stray dog and do not know who it belongs to then we suggest that you check social media, because our experience is that the use of social media can be a useful tool to help to reunite the dog with its owner. If you are going to post details of a found dog on social media then a brief description and the approximate location is normally enough information to help locate the owner. Various dog reuniting websites also exist. Veterinary clinics may be able to assist in the checking of any microchip for ownership details. If you are unable to find the owner, then please contact the Council during office hours or Three Oaks Kennels (tel. 01489 892760) for advice outside of office hours. Please note that the Council may not be able to respond until the next working day. If you are unable to keep the dog then please contact Three Oaks Kennels. The Council has an arrangement with Three Oaks Kennels, Botley Road, Bishops Waltham, SO32 1DR, to accept the drop-off of stray dogs found within the Test Valley area between 8am – 9pm daily, including weekends and bank holidays.