Reporting a stray dog
If you have found a dog, or your pet is missing, please report it to us and we will do our best to reunite lost pets with their owners.
We collect stray dogs which are lost and found in the Colchester area and keep them in a kennel.
What to do if you find a stray dog
Follow this advice to help reunite pets with their owners.
- If the dog is wearing a collar and tag, please attempt to contact the dog’s owner yourself.
- Contact our Animal Control team on 01206 282581 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 3pm) A member of the team will then contact you to arrange collection of the dog.
- During busy periods, it can take us some time to collect the dog. While you are waiting, try walking the dog around the area that it was found in case the owner is already looking for them.
- Take the dog to a local vet and ask them to scan it to see if they are microchipped. If they are, the vet can contact the owner.
- Do give the dog some water but avoid feeding them. Some dogs do not travel well once fed.
What to do if you have lost your dog
Follow this advice if you have lost your dog.
- Contact our Animal Control team on 01206 282581 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) and let us know that your dog is lost. We will put a description of your dog on the Lost Dog Register.
- If your dog is microchipped, call your chipping company to inform them that your dog is missing and check that your contact details are up to date.
- Search the Found Dog Register to read descriptions of dogs that have been found by us.
- Contact your local vets or rehoming centres to report your dog as missing in case they are handed in.
What happens if the Animal Control team finds your dog
Any dog found in a public place and not under the control of the owner will be treated as a stray. Our Animal Control team will take the following steps to reunite lost pets with their owners.
- If your dog is wearing a collar or is microchipped, we will attempt to contact you in the first instance.
- Any dog that cannot be immediately reunited with its owner will be made comfortable in a kennel.
- If your lost dog needs to be placed in our kennels, we will require you to pay a kennelling fee before we can arrange to return your dog to you. The kennelling fee is £25 per day.
- A stray dog penalty fee of £75 must also be paid before we can return your dog to you.
- If we find your dog and need to take them to the vet, we will also require you to pay the veterinary fees.
- Once the necessary fees have been paid, we will arrange to reunite you with your dog.
What to do if you can no longer care for your dogThe council's arrangements for stray dogs are not a means of disposal for unwanted dogs.
Owners who can no longer care for their pet should contact animal welfare charities such as the RSPCA, Dogs Trust or specialist breed rescues (the Kennel Club provide a breed rescue directory) who may be able to help them find a new home for their pet.
They should never pass the dog off as a stray. Those handing over stray dogs will be expected to provide their name and address, and anyone discovered to have handed their own animal in as a stray (or conspired with another person to dispose of their unwanted dog) will incur a debtor account for the costs the council collects in dealing with the animal.
Microchipping your dogThe law requires all dogs to be microchipped. You must make sure your contact details are kept up to date with your microchip company.
If your dog is lost or stolen, a microchip can be used to prove ownership. All vets and local authorities can scan stray dogs.
Collaring and tagging your dogAs well as microchipping, the law requires your dog to wear a collar and identification tag when out in a public place. Wearing a collar and tag will ensure anyone who finds your dog can contact you and return your pet to you.
What happens if your dog is not microchippedAny dog found without some form of identification will be classed as a stray and will be placed in kennels.
We collect over 100 stray dogs each year, and tragically too many of them are never reunited with their owners. Many lost dogs end up in kennels and if they are not claimed they will be re-homed.
If a dog is not microchipped, we may serve a notice on the owner of the dog requiring them to have their dog microchipped within 21 days. You can be fined up to £500 if your dog is not microchipped.
Page last reviewed: 2 November 2023