Dog warden service

The dog warden deals with stray dogs, promotes responsible dog ownership and enforces laws relating to dog fouling, the control of dogs and dog identification

Contents

 

Report a stray dog 

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, we have a duty to collect and impound dogs that are found straying in a public place (or a private place where the dog is not allowed) and not accompanied by their owner or any other person in charge. 

Dogs which are not accompanied may cause traffic problems or road accidents, may worry farm livestock, and occasionally may attack people, livestock, wildlife or pets. They could damage property, scavenge for food, leave fouling, and may even be injured, killed or stolen.

To report a stray dog you can telephone the Council on 0191 211 6102 during office hours (8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.). 

Our dog warden responds to reports of stray dogs during office hours only. Outside office hours, our contractor can collect strays, but only dogs which have been caught and restrained. To report a stray dog outside normal office hours, see If you have found a dog. The Council does not have a duty to collect dogs out of hours, but does have arrangements in place to collect dogs that have been confined/detained.

Animal charities and rehoming organisations cannot take strays directly off the street or from members of the public except under certain emergency situations.

 

If you have lost your dog

To check if your dog has been found by the dog warden please contact Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter. Their details are:

  • Address: Claremont Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4NL

  • Telephone: 0191 232 2878

  • Opening times: Monday to Sunday 8.45 a.m. to 6.45 p.m.

Any stray dogs we find will be impounded at the Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter.

There is no duty to return the dog directly to its owner. To recover the dog, standard charges will need to be paid (as required by the Environmental Protection Act 1990). The final standard charge depends on the number of days the dog has spent in the dog pound and whether any additional costs have been incurred. Charges are calculated as follows:

  • statutory charge = £25, plus

  • handling and administration fee = £10, plus

  • kennelling charge = £10.46 per day

 

The following table will give an indication of how much it will cost to reclaim a dog:

dog cost table

Notes:

  • There may also be additional costs relating to any necessary veterinary treatment

  • There will also be an extra £25 charge incurred if the dog is taken into the care of our contractors out-of-hours

  • A dog claimed on the day it is seized is charged as one day

  • Fees cannot be paid in instalments and are not in any way means tested

  • After seven clear days in the pound, the dog will be re-homed or euthanized

  • We try to avoid euthanising dogs wherever possible and this is usually only done on welfare grounds

 

Disputes over charges

Sometimes dog owners object to paying the charges. Local authorities are under a duty to collect any dog found loose in its area and to provide a reception facility for found dogs to be taken. The law states, "A person claiming to be the owner of a dog seized under this section shall not be entitled to have the dog returned to him unless he pays all the expenses incurred by reason of its detention" plus the £25 statutory charge set in national regulations.

The reason for the dog to be found straying is not relevant to the duty to pay the costs. By detaining the dog, we have safeguarded its welfare, prevented it causing problems for which the owner may be liable, and prevented it being injured or stolen. Costs are incurred by the Council in detaining the dog and contacting the owner whether the dog has run off when walked, has been let out to stray, has been abandoned or has escaped. All costs are initially met with public funds.

 

If you have found a dog

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, any person who finds a stray dog must do one of the following:

  • return the dog to its owner

  • report the dog to the Council's dog warden

  • deliver the dog to the dog warden

  • deliver the dog to Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter

The details of the Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter are:

  • Address: Claremont Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4NL

  • Telephone: 0191 232 2878

  • Opening times: Monday to Sunday 8.45 a.m. to 6.45 p.m.

It is illegal to keep a found dog without reporting it to the Council first. You can keep dog as long as the dog warden knows.

To report a found dog you can phone the Council on 0191 211 6102 during office hours (8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.). 

Between the hours of 7.00 p.m. and 8.00 a.m. contact the Council on 0191 278 7878 and arrangements will be made by the duty security officer for the dog to be collected the next working day by the dog warden.

If you are unable to look after the dog, the person taking your call will advise you what to do. Contact with the contractor providing night cover will be made on your behalf.

 

Keeping stray dogs

You can keep a stray dog in your home while you try to contact the owner or the Council.

You may be able to keep the dog for longer, as long as the dog warden knows where it is, who you are, and that you would like to adopt the dog if the owner cannot be traced or they don't claim the dog within seven days.

You must, by law, keep the dog for not less than one month.

Even if you adopt the dog, the legal ownership of the dog is never transferred to you. This means that the original owner could claim their dog back at any time, even if you've had the dog for several months or years. 

 

If you have a dog that you can no longer look after

An owner of a dog cannot pass responsibility for it to the Council.  Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 the owner is responsible for the care of the dog and may commit an offence if they abandon it.  The Council can help by taking the dog away providing the owner pays the costs of the kennelling and transport. This is currently £85.

Animal welfare charities, such as the Dogs Trust, may be able to help in these cases. The Dogs Trust page has some guidance on how to give up your dog for adoption. In addition the Trust may be able to give advice on managing the issue that has led to the dog needing a new home.

 

Dangerous dogs

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 it is against the law to own certain types of dog. These are the:

  • Pit Bull Terrier

  • Japanese Tosa

  • Dogo Argentino

  • Fila Brasileiro

It’s also against the law to:

  • sell a banned dog

  • abandon a banned dog

  • give away a banned dog

  • breed from a banned dog

Whether your dog is a banned type depends on what it looks like, rather than its breed or name.

Also under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 it is an offence to let a dog, of any breed or type, be dangerously out of control anywhere. If the dog injures any person or an assistance dog, an aggravated offence is committed by the owner or other person in charge of the dog at the time. The offence is no longer restricted to dog attacks in a public place or private place where the dog should not be.

A dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:

  • injures someone, or

  • makes someone reasonably fear that it might injure them

If you have concerns about a dog being dangerous you should contact the police. Telephone the police on 101 for a non-emergency or use 999 in an emergency (for example if the dog is mauling someone). The police will liaise with the dog warden if this is necessary. The police and the Crown Prosecution Service will decide whether to take legal action.

It is advisable to contact your doctor or NHS 111 if you have been bitten by a dog.

The police dog legislation officers will be able to identify dogs that are alleged to be of a prohibited type and investigate alleged offences under dangerous dog legislation.

A person in charge of a dog which attacks or chases livestock, such as cattle or sheep, on agricultural land commits an offence under section 1 of the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953. Under this Act, a  farmer is allowed to kill a dog if it’s chasing livestock. This legislation is also enforced by the police.

It is a offence under section 1 of the Guard Dogs Act 1975 for a person to use, or permit the use of, a guard dog to protect any premises unless a handler capable of controlling the dog is also present and the dog is under his control, or unless the dog is secured so that it is not at liberty to go freely about the premises. 

A court may make an order under the Dogs Act 1871 that a dog be kept under proper control, whether or not the dog is shown to have injured any person and may specify the measures to be taken for keeping the dog under proper control (such as muzzling, keeping on a lead or excluding it from specified places). Proceedings under this Act can be started by any person, but can only be brought against the owner of the dog. For details on making a complaint under the Act, contact your local magistrates' court.

 

Controlling your dog in public

Under the city's public spaces protection order, a police constable, police community support officer, or an authorised officer from the Council may request a person in charge of a dog in a public place, to put and keep that dog on a lead. This means where a dog is causing a nuisance, such as running into traffic or chasing people or other pets in a park, a direction may be given that the dog be put on a lead and kept on the lead.

It is an offence not to comply with such a direction. The maximum fine is £1,000, but a fixed penalty notice of £100 may be issued.

The public spaces protection order also requires the owner of a dog, or any other person walking it, to clean up after it has fouled. More details are on our dog fouling page. It is an offence not clean up after the dog. The maximum fine is £1,000 and the fixed penalty is £100.

The requirements to comply with a direction from an authorised officer or to clean up after a dog apply to any land, which is open to the air and to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access (with or without payment). Such land across the whole of Newcastle upon Tyne has been designated for the purposes of dog control parts of the public spaces protection order.

If a dog is subject to a court order to be on a lead or on a lead and muzzled and it is not, then this should be reported to the police.

 

Dog welfare

Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps in all the circumstances to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice. Dog owners must therefore take positive steps to ensure they care for their animals properly and in particular must provide for the five welfare needs, which are:

  • need for a suitable environment

  • need for a suitable diet

  • need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns

  • need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals

  • need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

Further information on animal welfare law is available on the Government's pages.

Breaching the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is a criminal offence.

If you have any concerns relating to pets or animals that are being neglected, mistreated or abused, then you should contact the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) on 0300 1234 999. Information on reporting cruelty to animals or animals in distress can be found here.

If you see a dog in distress, for example in a hot car, or being beaten, contact the police. Further advice can be found here.

 

Dog identification and microchipping

Control of Dogs Order 1992

Under the Control of Dogs Order of 1992 every dog, while in a highway or public place, must wear a collar with a name and address of its owner inscribed on it or on a plate or badge attached to it. If a collar is not worn when required, the dog may be seized by the police and treated by them as a stray.

 

Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015

Under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 it is compulsory for all dogs over the age of 8 weeks to be fitted with a microchip. Dogs must be microchipped and registered on one of the databases approved by the Government.

A pet microchip is a tiny computer chip that's about the size of a grain of rice. It contains a unique code that matches up the pet's details. Microchipping a dog is a quick and simple procedure but must be carried out by a trained professional such as a vet.

The only exemption from the requirement to microchip a dog is where a vet has certified in writing that a dog is unfit to be microchipped.

Dog breeders must ensure that puppies are microchipped and registered by the time they are 8 weeks old and before they are sold. Always check a puppy you are buying is microchipped before taking it home. The breeder, rather than the puppy buyer, must be first recorded keeper on the database.

When a dog is transferred or sold, the new owner must add their details to the relevant database. Make sure you obtain the details of the dog registration database company from the previous recorded keeper.

Dog owners are responsible for keeping their dog's microchip information up to date, for example if moving house or changing their telephone number. Dog owners should make contact with the database company their dog is registered with to make any changes that are necessary.

Failure to comply with the legislation on microchipping can lead to a fine of £500. 

For more information please see the Government's pages.

 

The dog warden and cats

The dog warden does not deal with issues concerning cats or other domestic animals, but we are sometimes asked questions about how the law applies to these.

The duties under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 apply to all vertebrate pet animals and livestock.

The law relating to trespass in the context of domestic animals is found in the Animals Act 1971. However, the Animals Act 1971 does not apply to cats; they have a legal ‘right to roam’ and the owner of a cat cannot be legally responsible for where their cat goes.

There are also no laws aimed at cats fouling on land. However, under the common law (i.e. law made by the courts in successive judgements) there is something termed a 'nuisance', which is something that substantially and unreasonably interferes with a claimant's land or their use or enjoyment of that land. These nuisance laws may assist where a complaint or dispute arises, but the matter has to be serious and repeated.

Cat owners also have a common law duty to take reasonable steps to ensure their cats do not cause damage to someone’s property or cause injury to anyone.

Where an individual is subjected to an animal-related trespass, nuisance or damage, court proceedings can be brought in the county court or the High Court for compensation and/or an injunction. We would advise anyone considering legal action to speak to a solicitor.

If you have concerns about a feral cat, please contact Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter on 0191 232 2878 or an animal welfare charity such as Cats Protection.

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