If you find a stray dog, you MUST report it to the local dog warden. If you keep it, sell it or give it away you could be found guilty of “theft of an animal by finding” and face a prison sentence or a fine.
Reporting a Found Dog
On the Wirral:
- Wirral Council Animal Control and Welfare
0151 606 2003 (during normal office hours)
- Friends of Birkenhead Kennels
0151 556 1220 (during normal office hours)
For Other Areas:
- Find the local council: www.gov.uk/report-stray-dog
Reuniting a Lost Dog to Owner
- Report to Dog Warden: See section above.
- Scan for Microchip: Take the dog to a local vet who will scan it for free and contact the relevant database if a microchip is found.
- Social Media: Use Facebook, Twitter and other such sites to share photos of the found pet and share with friends.
- Specialist Sites: Like doglost.co.uk to search for missing pets that fit the description of the animal you have found.
Make sure you see PROOF OF OWNERSHIP before handing a dog (or any other found pet) over to someone. Documents include photographs, registration documents, vet’s bills, microchip certificate and so on – if you are unsure, then let the local dog warden deal with the situation.
Keeping a Stray Dog
You must return a stray dog to its owner if you know who the owner is. Otherwise you must contact your local dog warden to report finding a stray.
If you want to keep the dog, tell the council this – they’ll probably check you’re suitable as a dog owner before you can adopt it.
Even if you adopt it, the legal ownership of the dog is never transferred to you.
This means that the original owner could claim their dog back at any time, even if you’ve had the dog for several months or years.