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Animal Health Team
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)
- Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
- Gables Farm Dogs and Cats Home
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What is a stray dog?
Any dog found in a public or private place where it should not be, which appears to be without its owner or anyone responsible for it, may be seized and detained as a stray dog.
What is the Council responsible for?
The Council is responsible for stray dogs under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Where a Council Animal Health and Welfare Officer believes a dog is straying, the dog will be seized and kennelled for seven days, before being re-homed.
What is the Council not responsible for?
The Council is not required to provide a 24 hour seven day service or provide a place for the public to take stray dogs unless this is practical.
What level of service will the Council provide?
The Council's Animal Health and Welfare Team will respond to incidents of stray dogs when they have been reported to the Council. This work is carried out as part of their duties relating to the control of dogs and animal health and welfare.
Officers will be available to seize stray dogs during normal office hours, 9am to 5pm on Mondays to Thursdays and 9am to 4.30pm on Fridays, but not at weekends, on Bank Holidays or during the Council's closed period between Christmas and New Year.
What do I do if I lose my dog?
The Animal Health and Welfare Team keeps a record of all lost and stray dogs. You should contact them on 01752 304147, giving your name, address, phone number and details of the dog, including name, breed/description, colour, sex and any tag/microchip details. You will also be asked for details of where you last saw your dog.
How do I get my dog back?
All dogs must wear a tag on its collar with your contact details. If someone finds your dog, they can contact you direct and return it to you. If your dog does not have a tag with your details, the person who has found your dog can contact the Council and an officer will collect your dog from them. The officer will scan your dog and if it has a microchip with your details, they will contact you to arrange for you to get your dog back. If no owner details are found the dog will be taken to the kennels and held for seven days.
How much will it cost to get my dog back?
You have to pay the following release fee to the Council before you can get your dog back. This fee is based on the legal penalty for stray dogs and the costs the Council incurs. Please contact the Council on 01752 304147 to arrange to pay for your dog. You can pay by debit or credit card over the phone. You must pay by 5pm Mondays to Thursdays and by 4.30pm on Fridays to get your dog back on that day otherwise the charge will increase.
What happens to the dogs after seven days?
The Council will arrange for the dogs to be re-homed by an animal welfare charity.
What do I do if I find a stray dog?
The Animal Health and Welfare Team keep a record of all lost and stray dogs. You should contact our Animal Health and Welfare Team on 01752 304147 providing your name, address, phone number and details of the dog, including breed/description, colour, sex and any tag/microchip details. You will also be asked where you found the dog.
Do I have to look after the dog?
The Council officer will ask you to hold onto the dog until they can pick it up. Officers will only be available to pick a dog up during normal office hours, 9am to 5pm on Mondays to Thursdays and 9am to 4.30pm on Fridays, but not at weekends, on Bank Holidays or during the Council's closed period between Christmas and New Year.
Where can I take a dog when the Council offices are shut?
The Council cannot provide any out-of-office hours facilities for kennelling stray dogs. There is unfortunately nowhere that you can take dogs when the council offices are shut.
Keep the dog until the next working day and contact the Council as soon as possible.
How can I stop my dog straying?
You should keep your dog under your control at all times. Make sure your garden is secure so your dog cannot get out and keep your dog on a lead when you are out in public places.
All dogs must wear a collar and tag by law. This is the quickest and easiest way a dog can be returned to you if you lose it.
You should also have a micro-chip inserted into your dog. This will log your personal details and a Council officer can scan your dog and contact you. Make sure your details are up to date. Talk to your vet or local animal welfare charity about having your dog micro-chipped.
What can I do if I no longer want my pet dog?
Before you take on the responsibility of owning a dog you should fully consider if you are able to look after it and provide everything it needs, such as food, exercise and health care.
If you are no longer able to care for your dog you must not abandon it or you could be prosecuted. You should look for a way to re-home your dog.
There are many charities that take in unwanted dogs. Contact these charities to find one that can help you. Always phone first to make sure they have space to take your dog. Visit our animal welfare contacts page for details of welfare organisations that might be able to help.
Where can I take my dog if I no longer want it?
Visit our animal welfare contacts page for details of animal re-homing establishments. Always contact them before you visit to make sure they have space to take your dog.
What do other animal organisations do about stray dogs?
Organisations such as Gables Farm Dogs and Cats Home, PDSA, RSPCA, Estover Animal Hospital and veterinary surgeries have no legal responsibility for stray dogs. They will not accept stray dogs on behalf of Plymouth City Council.
Gables Farm Dogs and Cats Home is an animal welfare charity within the city boundaries. Gables Farm can micro-chip your dog or, if you are unable to continue to care for your pet dog, they may be able to help you re-home it. Call Gables Farm on 01752 331602 to discuss this further or visit the Gables Farm website.
The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) help those on benefits with certain veterinary expenses. Visit the RSPCA website for more information.
Estover Animal Hospital and veterinary surgeries are private organisations that deal with sick or injured animals but not stray dogs. However they can micro-chip your dog for a fee.
What do the Police do about stray dogs?
The police have no responsibility for stray dogs. They will not accept stray dogs on behalf of Plymouth City Council.
However, the police are responsible for the enforcement of other legislation relating to dogs, including the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, which aims to protect people from injury, or fear of injury, from dogs. The act bans the ownership of certain types of dogs and makes it a criminal offence for any dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place.
To report an incident relating to dangerous dogs, contact the police on 101 or visit the Devon and Cornwall Police website.