Stray, Lost and Found Dogs

A stray dog is any dog that is found somewhere without its owner or someone representing its owner.

Dogs and other animals that are out on their own can pose a risk to themselves, other animals and the community.

You can report stray or lost dogs to us. You can also report issues with dog fouling and dead animals.

Collecting stray dogs

We have a legal duty for collecting stray dogs and keeping them until they're claimed by their owners.  

If a dog is reported to us or found roaming the streets without a collar and tag or a microchip, it will be collected by our Dog Warden service and taken to one of our kennels for stray dogs.

The dog will stay in our care for up to seven days to allow the owner time to claim it.  

The owner will need to pay a fee before the dog can be returned to them. This covers the cost of keeping the dog at the kennels.

If a dog isn't claimed after seven days, it will be re-homed.

Report a stray or lost dog

During office hours

If you think you have found a stray dog, contact our Dog Warden service on Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4.30pm.

If you have lost your dog and want to find out if it has been reported to us or collected by us, contact our Dog Warden service on Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4.30pm.

Call our Dog Warden service on 023 8028 5000 

Out of office hours

If you need to contact the Dog Warden service outside of office hours, call 023 8028 5202 and leave a message. Provide us with as much detail as possible, including: 

  • your full name  
  • your landline and mobile phone numbers 
  • details of the dog  
  • location of the stray or lost dog 
  • when the dog went missing (if reporting a lost dog). 

The Dog Warden service will contact you on the next working day.

Claiming your lost dog

If you have reported to us that your dog is lost, we will contact you to take more details.

We will check our records and let you know if we have a dog in our care that matches your dog's description. If so, we will let you know how to claim it.

Fees for claiming a lost dog

If your dog has been collected by our Dog Warden service and put in our kennels, you will have to pay a fee to get it back.

This fee is made up of:

  • the statutory Government charge of £25
  • the daily kennel fee
  • any other reasonable expenses.  

There may also be a charge for vet bills if the dog needed medical attention while it was in our care. 

Dogs that are not claimed by their owners after seven days will be rehomed. 

How to pay 

All fees must be paid in full before the dog can be released back to its owner.  

You can pay in cash or by credit or debit card at any of our local Information Offices or at a New Forest health and leisure centre.

You will be issued with a release certificate, which you must present to the kennels when you collect the dog. 

Dogs that are not claimed 

Dogs that have not been claimed by their owners within seven days become the property of the council and will be re-homed. 

We have a 'do not destroy' policy, which means no stray dogs are euthanised unless they are suffering or have been classed as too dangerous to re-home. This will only occur after a veterinary consultation and is very rare.

Other animals

Straying livestock can pose a danger to themselves and the community.

We have the right to impound any livestock which has strayed onto council land, under the Animals Act 1971.

If you want to report stray livestock or any other type of animal, call Customer Services on 023 8028 5000.

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