Stray Dogs

Test Valley Awarded Gold Footprint Award Once Again!

Test Valley Borough Council Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer deal with nearly 200 stray dogs a year. Many of these dogs are returned with their owners, however, some may sadly have been abandoned by people who no longer want, or care for, the animal's welfare.

Dog Owners Responsibilities

Dog owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that their dog has a collar and tag with their name and address inscribed on it.  You should obtain a high quality tag with clear engraving, examples of which can be see by clicking here  A good tag will have enough information inscribed upon it to ensure that if the dog is found then the person finding it can contact you.  The legal requirements is name and address.  The law states that "every dog while in a highway or in a place of public resort shall wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or a plate or badge attached to it". This legislation can be seen if you click here

Dog owners also have a legal responsibility to ensure that their dog is microchipped and the details are up to date.  You can get advice about microchipping from your vet.  If you are unsure whether the details are up to date you can ask your vet to check the next time your dog is having a check up.  You should regularly check your microchip to ensure that it hasn't drifted and is still working.  Microchipping regulations can be viewed by clicking here and advice from the Dogs Trust can be seen here.

A lot of Dogs are reunited via social media.  Having a good up to date digital photograph is very useful to help to identify for your dog.  Most people have smart phones and can share information about a dog that they have found or seen straying in the local area that can help the owners to get their dog back as soon as possible. 

If you have found a stray dog you should:

  • Contact the Local Authority Dog Warden who will come and collect the dog from you during normal working hours. (Stray dogs are dealt with under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which gives Local Authority Officers powers to seize and detain any dog that is found to be straying). Outside normal office hours please call 01264 368000 to be put through to the emergency out-of-hours service (full details towards the foot of this page).
  • The dog will be taken to the Local Authority kennels to be looked after whilst every attempt is made to find the owner of the dog.
  • The dog will be scanned for a microchip, this is a tiny electronic device injected into the scruff of the dog which can be read by a scanner. The details of the dog and owner are held on a national database enabling dog and owner to be reunited almost immediately. Dog wardens from neighbouring boroughs will be contacted to see if the dog has been reported missing nearby. Information of the stray may be posted on national lost/found dog web sites in case it has travelled from out of the area.
  • If an owner of a stray dog is traced they will be required to pay a statutory fee of £35 plus any kennelling, vets and other costs incurred before the dog can be reclaimed. Payments will be accepted by debit card.
  • The dogs are held for 7 days, after this time if the owner cannot be found they are taken to one of the national rehomeing centres such as the RSPCA or The Dogs Trust.

Do you destroy dogs which are not claimed?

Test Valley Borough Council has a policy not to destroy dogs.  However on some very rare occasions, such as under veterinary advice, it may be the kindest path for a particular dog.

What you should do if you have lost your dog?

  • Contact the Local Authority Dog Wardens and vets.
  • If your dog is microchipped advise the company with whom your details are registered.
  • Tell as many people as you can in your local area and check the various lost/found web sites.

What happens if your dog is picked up as a stray?

  • You will be required to pay a statutory fee of £35 plus any kennelling, vets and any other costs incurred before the dog can be reclaimed.  Payments will be accepted by debit card.
  • Stray dogs are held for 7 days, after this time if the owner cannot be found they are taken to one of the national rehoming centres such as the RSPCA or The Dogs Trust.
  • You will also, if appropriate, be advised on the need to ensure your dog wears a collar and the benefits of having your animal microchipped.

What is microchipping?

Microchipping is a permanent way of identifying your dog and means that he or she can be returned to you almost immediately. Whether your dog is microchipped or not, by law all dogs should wear a collar with identification tag bearing your address and contact details. If your dog is prone to losing his/her tag, then write your details on the collar in permanent marker. This also means that anyone finding your dog can return him or her directly to you.

Stray Dogs Found Out of Office Hours

Test Valley Borough Council no longer provides an Out of Hours Stray Dog Collection Service.

Instead, a Stray Dog Reception Centre is provided in the Andover area between the following hours:

  • Monday to Thursday 17:00 to 20:00
  • Fridays 16:00 to 20:00
  • Weekends/Bank Holidays/Public Holidays 10:00 to 16:00

The finders of stray dogs will be advised of the arrangements for receiving stray dogs.  In order to arrange for a dog to be received please call 01264 368000 and follow the instructions for emergencies.

Need Any Further Information or Advice?

For further information please contact:

The Dog Warden
Telephone: 01264 368000
Email envhealth@testvalley.gov.uk