Losing a pet can be a stressful time for both dog owner and dog alike. Often the owner has no idea who they should contact to report their dog as missing. Similarly, members of the public who find a straying dog can be unsure what to do. The FAQ that follows should help answer these questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have lost my dog. Who do I contact?

Your local dog warden should be your first point of contact.  He/she is most likely to be made aware of reported sightings of straying or unaccompanied dogs.  If your description matches that of a reported dog, then the dog warden will let you know where your dog is located.

Who else can I contact if my dog is missing?

You should contact your neighbouring Local Authority Dog Warden, as your pet may have wandered or been taken into an adjacent area.   You should also contact your local police station; members of the public frequently hand found dogs over to the police.   Local veterinary surgeries, animal rescue centres,  neighbours and friends are also important in helping to trace your missing dog.   It is important to search the local area including all your usual walks – straying dogs often return to places they know or follow their usual routes.

If your pet is micro-chipped or tattooed you should contact the relevant micro-chip service provider or reunification service.  Doing so will make them aware that your pet is missing and give you an opportunity to check they have your correct contact details.  The following is a list of three such service providers:

My dog is being held by a finder who will not return it, how do I resolve this?

First of all, try to understand that the finder may simply be taking a cautious approach to ensure that the dog is reunited with its rightful owner or that correct procedure is followed.  Initially, you should check with the local Dog Warden to determine if the dog has been reported as found.  If your dog is been kept at an address and the Dog Warden knows about it, the finder is required to return the dog to you.  If you believe your dog is being held illegally, ask the police and the local authority to assist you in recovering your dog.

What should you do if you find a stray/lost dog?

Contact the Local Authority for the area in which the dog was found.  If you have hold of the dog, the Dog Warden will arrange to uplift it from you.    If you have sighted a dog on its own you can assist the Dog Warden by noting as much information as possible.  Useful information includes:

  • Where the dog was last seen
  • The breed of the dog
  • The colour and distinctive markings of the dog
  • Whether the dog has a collar

The Dog Warden will attend as soon as possible to search for the dog in order to recover it.  If the dog is chipped or has a tag, the Dog Warden will inform the owner as to where the dog has been taken.  The owner has 7 days in which to claim their dog after which time it may be made available for adoption.

I have found a dog and I want to keep it?

You must phone the Local Authority Dog Warden or your local police station to report the dog.  You cannot just keep the dog as your own without following proper procedure.