Stray Dogs

What should I do if I find a stray dog?

What should I do if I find a stray dog?

There is no legal definition of a stray dog, although a dog may reasonably be treated as a stray if it is roaming freely and not under the control of any person, irrespective of whether it has a home.  The RSPCA cannot legally take in stray dogs.

Councils have a duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Section 149) and Environmental Protection (Stray Dog) Regulations 1992 to catch dogs that appear to be straying.

What should you do?

Under The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Section 150), the finder of a stray dog must either:

  • return the dog to its owner
  • contact the local authority

You must provide the local authority with your contact details, location and description of the stray dog.

If the finder fails to take one of these courses of action, he will have committed an offence and would be liable, upon conviction, to a fine.



Dog Warden – 8.30am-5.00pm Mon – Thurs and 8.30am-4.30pm Friday – Tel: 01325 388799

Out of office hours, contact the above telephone number to make arrangements to drop the dog off at the holding kennels. Please note: Stray dogs are held for 24 hours and then moved to Deerness Dog Kennels Tel: 0191 378 0439

Strays picked up in the Darlington area feature on the Dog Warden Service Facebook page:

Richmond and Catterick

Please telephone the 24hr hot line for stray dogs on 0845 2417253

Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Crook, Newton Aycliffe and Tow Law

Contact Durham County Council on 0300 1237070. You can also call Stray Aid on 0300 999 4247 and Stray Action for Dogs on 0191 378 0439 for dogs lost in County Durham

Darlington & District Branch RSPCA © 2017