Lost and stray dogs

Report a lost dog in North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset or Weymouth and Portland

You will need to register on our online portal to report a lost dog to us.

Report a lost dog in East Dorset

Complete a short online form to report a lost dog in East Dorset.

If you have a stray dog in your care 

If you have a stray dog in your care please contact us directly on 01305 221000.

If you are unable to care for the dog we will try our best to help. Please call the number above and wait to be connected to our out of hours service. If a dog warden is available to collect the dog they will attempt to do so, or we may be able to give you the address of a reception centre where you can take the dog.

Our service operates from 8am to 9:30pm daily (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day).

If you have caught the dog and it is outside of these hours, it is your responsibility to keep the dog safe and contained until we can come and collect it. We have to operate to these hours due to kennel opening times. Please keep the dog in a secure garden, out-building or within your home with access to water until the dog warden arrives. 

Stray dogs that are not contained

We are not able to 'catch' stray dogs that have been seen in open countryside or on public land, we can only assist if you have the dog contained and under control on a lead or rope. We would however still encourage you to report any sightings of a stray dog as it could prove useful if the owner has been in contact.

Report a stray dog which is not contained in North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset or Weymouth and Portland

Register on our online portal to report a stray dog which is not contained.

Report a stray dog which is not contained in East Dorset

Complete a short online form to report a stray dog which is not contained in East Dorset.

When claiming your dog

There will be a payment required prior to collection. You may pay by card by contacting the council offices during office hours, or through our Dog Wardens (some of whom carry card payment units). Your receipt number will enable you to collect your dog. A cheque or cash is acceptable on agreement at the kennels.

You should note:

  • dogs which remain unclaimed will, after seven full days have elapsed, become the legal property of the council and will then be rehomed, if appropriate
  • the council's policy is that dogs will only be released following payment of ALL known fees and charges
  • veterinary treatment will be provided at the discretion of the council, but is generally restricted to primary care and the alleviation of suffering; owners will be invoiced separately

Stray dog collection and charges from 1 April 2021

Stray dog collection

Collection of dog during normal working hours: 8am to 5pm from Monday to Friday.

Out of hours at Reception Centre only: 

  • 5pm to 9.30pm Monday to Friday
  • 8am to 9.30pm Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays
  • no service Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year's Day

Stray dog collection fees

Fees for collecting a stray dog:

  • statutory fee is £25
  • administration fee is £47 (this includes the application of preventative treatment for worms, fleas and mange, if necessary)
  • daily kennelling fee (or part thereof) is £15.50

Fees for dog returned to owner without being taken to kennels

Zero days in kennels and dog returned directly to owner:

  • statutory fee of £25
  • plus administration fee of £47

Total fee is £72.

Fees for dog returned to owner after being taken to kennels

Days in Kennels  Breakdown of Fees Total Fee
Day 1 (or part thereof) Statutory Fee £25 + Administration Fee £47 + Daily Kennelling Fee £15.50  £87.50
Day 2 Statutory Fee £25 + Administration Fee £47 + Daily Kennelling Fee £31  £103
Day 3

Statutory Fee £25 + Administration Fee £47 + Daily Kennelling Fee £46.50

Day 4 Statutory Fee £25 + Administration Fee £47 + Daily Kennelling Fee £62  £134.00
Day 5 Statutory Fee £25 + Administration Fee £47 + Daily Kennelling Fee £77.50  £149.50
Day 6 Statutory Fee £25 + Administration Fee £47 + Daily Kennelling Fee £93.00  £165
Day 7 Statutory Fee £25 + Administration Fee £47 + Daily Kennelling Fee £108.50  £180.50
Day 8 Statutory Fee £25 + Administration Fee £47 + Daily Kennelling Fee £124 £196

Dog fouling

Report an incident of dog fouling

You can report dog fouling to the council by completing a short online form

Dangerous dogs

Dogs that attack people, livestock or assistance dogs must be reported to the Police by dialling 101. They are the investigating body for these incidents.

A dog on dog attack will be dealt with by the Dog Warden Service who will mediate between parties. Most minor cases are dealt with by means of an advice letter to the offending party, however, there are various legislative options available to us.

Where a dog is dangerously out of control in a public place, we may be able to take action to deal with the incident to prevent it happening again. This is not possible where the name and address of the dog owners involved are not supplied.

In moderate and persistent cases legislation allows the Dog Warden Service to place reasonable restrictions on aggressive dogs. These restrictions may stipulate certain conditions with regard to handling and containing the dog. If these are not complied with and attacks continue there is a possibility for the dog to be considered dangerously out of control and as such may lead to a hearing in a Magistrates Court. The Court may decide to formalise any restrictions, or may even consider the destruction of the dog as a last resort.

Report a dangerous dog in North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset or Weymouth and Portland

Register on our online portal to report a dog on dog attack to our Dog Warden Service.

Report a dangerous dog in East Dorset

Complete a short form to report a dog on dog attack to our Dog Warden Service.

What a responsible dog owner can do

Abide by the terms of the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in Dorset.

Great advice is available from Dorset Dogs or local dog trainers

Ensure your dog carries identification

By law, a dog should wear a tag inscribed with the owner's name and address. You should also include an up to date mobile phone number. This is so that if your dog goes missing, the finder will be able to contact you. It is compulsory for all dogs to have a microchip fitted with their owner's details. Owners must ensure their details are up to date with the microchipping company, it is an offence not to do so under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015.

Dogs under eight weeks old are exempt from the microchipping law. Dogs can also be exempt through a certificate issued by a registered vet. If you are buying a puppy, the breeder should have microchipped it and added their details, the breeder should then provide you with the information needed to change the chip to your details.

If your pet has a microchip and goes missing, the scanners held by the:

  • police
  • dog wardens
  • vets

help identify your pet's unique chip number to re-unite you with your dog.

Even if your dog is microchipped, it must wear a tag in a public place to be legal.

Do not leave your dog in a hot car

Even an open window may not be enough to be sure a dog will not over heat. It may be better to leave dogs at home where they have the comfort of shade and available drinking water. See RSPCA Dog Advice & Welfare for more information on your obligation to your dog.  If you are concerned about a dog left in a car on a hot day please dial 999.

Make sure your dog does not bark excessively

We all recognise that dogs bark. However, excessive dog barking is both stressful to the dog and upsetting to those listening to it.

If you believe that you have a problem or have been advised that your dog barks excessively then consider what action you can take to resolve the problem. It may be that your dog is bored or anxious when left alone.

A low volume radio left on can help to settle your dog but you may want to think about training your dog or speaking to a dog warden for advice.

Animal welfare

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 you are responsible for your dog to ensure they get the best out of life.

Your dog should be:

  • given a suitable environment
  • given a suitable diet
  • able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • able to socialise with their own breed
  • protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease in relation to the size, breed and age

The RSPCA can give you additional guidance.

Vaccines, worm and flea treatment

Both dogs and humans benefit from a good canine vaccination and parasite treatment programme. This helps prevent the spread of diseases that can be fatal to dogs and also cause blindness to humans.

You should contact your vet at least annually to ensure that your dog's programme is right for your dog, your dog's needs are likely to change during its life cycle.

Should you wish to use a licensed kennels or home boarder, your dog will need to be fully vaccinated, with proof of either a current vaccination certificate or titre tests and be up to date with worming and flea treatment.

Bringing a puppy into your home 

If you are considering bringing a dog into your home as a companion you may wish to have advice on how to obtain a puppy whether this is from one of the numerous registered charitable organisations which have dogs to rehome such as:

  • the Dog’s Trust
  • the Margaret Green Foundation
  • a licensed pet shop
  • licensed breeder
  • a domestic breeder

Every licensed premises will be able to tell you their licence reference and the local authority they received their licence from. It should also be on any website or social media site where they intend to sell the dog. This can be checked with the local authority.

You can find information from our Dog Wardens or follow simple guidance given on the RSPCA website.

If you are mis-sold any dog or feel that the circumstances of obtaining your dog are not right please contact us. We can direct you to the most appropriate agency to investigate the issue, this is likely to be Trading Standards.

The likelihood is if it doesn’t feel right it might not be. If the premises is licensed it is subject to inspection and must comply with certain conditions (stipulated in legislation), these protect the public and more importantly the dogs in their care. Don’t buy an animal on sympathy; this perpetuates puppy farms and does not prevent or control them.

Neutering and spaying

Neutering and spaying is not just about controlling pet numbers, it can also give your dog many other benefits.

Every year thousands of stray and unwanted dogs are collected by councils and rescue centres across the country. Neutering and spaying helps to prevent unwanted litters of puppies and can help reduce the numbers of unwanted dogs.

Neutering and spaying also has many health benefits for both male and female dogs. It can help reduce certain types of cancers and infections which are common in non-neutered dogs. With female dogs, spaying stops them coming into season and reduces stress and prevents mess in the house and also stops unwanted attention from male dogs. With males, it can also help to prevent roaming and helps to reduce the urge to fight.

For more information or advice on neutering and spaying, please contact your local vet.