Stray animals

We have a legal duty to collect and detain stray dogs if they remain unclaimed.

Stray Dogs

Collection of stray dogs is carried out on behalf of the council by our contractor SDK Environmental Ltd.

If you find a stray dog, look on the collar for contact details and try to return it to its owner or your local vet may be able to scan the dog to see if it is microchipped. If this is not possible contact SDK.

During office hours:
Contact SDK on 03444 828 346 or email

They aim to visit within 2 hours to collect the dog.

Outside office hours
Contact SDK on 03444 828 300 they will collect the dog.

We will always try to return a dog to its owner. Where this is not possible, we will make every effort to ensure that it is rehomed.

If you are unable to confine the stray dog contact SDK on 03444 828 346 or email them and give as much information as possible, for example:

  • The colour, size and type of dog (if possible)
  • If it is injured or distressed
  • Address or landmark where it was last seen
  • Other information such as if you have seen it regularly going to the same place each, where it is feeding etc

If the dog is acting dangerously or causing distress in a public place (including dogs causing disruption / danger to traffic) you should contact the Police who deal with dangerous dogs.

We will make a charge, see Environmental Health fees and charges, to cover the cost of detaining a dog. This must be paid before the dog is returned.

We always try to return a dog to its owner. Where this is not possible, we will make every effort to ensure that it is re-homed.

When dealing with stray dogs we will take into account the relevant provisions of:

  • the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
  • the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996
  • the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulation 2015
  • the Control of Dogs Order 1992
  • the Animal Welfare Act 2006
  • any other relevant legislation

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 Section 150 requires the finder of a stray dog to:

  • return the dog to its owner; or
  • contact the local authority for the area in which the dog was found.

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

If the finder requests to keep the dog, they must supply the officer with their contact details and details of the dog. The officer is required to keep a record of these details.

Regulations require that the officer makes appropriate enquiries to ascertain that the finder is a suitable person to keep the dog.

The finder must then be informed verbally and in writing that they are obliged to keep the dog (if unclaimed by the owner) for not less than one month and that failure to comply with that obligation is a criminal offence.

Lost Dog

If you have lost your dog please call SDK Environmental on 03444 828 346 to see if they have collected it and, if so, arrange to get it back. Details of dogs collected are available on the found dog website, you should also contact local vets,

Other animals

Under the Animal Act 1971 the Council can impound any livestock which has strayed onto Council land.

The animals are only returned to their owners after payment for any damages and expenses incurred.

Livestock that has strayed onto private land may also be impounded, at the written request of the landowner.

If known, the owner of the animal will be informed that the animal has strayed onto Council land, and giving details of where it can be collected within a given time, subject to the payment for any damage caused, and expense incurred.

We will notify the police of the straying animal and inform them that we intend to impound it.

After a certain time, we will arrange for the animal to be impounded and removed to a suitable establishment where it will be held.

The animal will be returned, on satisfactory proof of ownership and the payment for any damage caused, and expense incurred.

If any animal has not been claimed after a given time, it will be sold. If the owner appears after this time and produces satisfactory proof of ownership, any monies received will be given to the owner less the cost of any damage caused, and expense incurred.

Useful links

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 Sec 150

DEFRA  - Animal Health and Welfare information


Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996

Control of Dogs Order 1992

Animal Welfare Act 2006 

Contact details

Environmental Health & Licensing
Stevenage Borough Council
Daneshill House
Herts, SG1 1HN

01438 242908 / 242916