The council has a legal obligation to seize any stray dogs found roaming in the community.
The Animal Welfare Officers are constantly patrolling the borough and responding to stray dog complaints from the public. It is an offence to allow your dog to stray and the dog wardens have a number of actions they may take for every dog seized.
If a straying dog is found the Animal Welfare Officers will make every effort to seize it. If at all possible we will try and locate the owner and inform them of the offence. This is then registered as a first offence.
If your dog carries identification we will try and return the dog to you on the first occasion only. We cannot return the dog to you if no one is at home or the wrong details are displayed on the disc.
For lost dogs, contact the Animal Welfare Officer as soon as possible and if you need to go out and look for your dog, leave a responsible person at home to answer the door and telephone.
If you allow the dog to stray a second time or on a regular basis, the dog will be seized and a recommendation made to the council's legal department to prosecute you the owner.
Retrieving your dog from the kennels is an expensive business. You will be responsible for all fees incurred as a result of your dog's detainment.
Firstly, you need to contact the council. During office hours, you will be invited to the council offices in Poulton to speak with one of the Animal Welfare Officers. We will ask you to bring proof of your identity and inform you of the fees your dog's detention has incurred.
When you have paid the charges and identified from a photograph that the dog is yours you will be issued with a release certificate to present to the kennels in order for your dog to be returned to you.
Please note: In line with the council's policy we never release a dog until all fees are paid in full. You cannot go directly to the kennels and claim your dog without the relevant release form from the Animal Welfare Officer or "out of office hours" authorisation form from the duty officer.
Reporting stray dogs
If you find a stray dog, by law, you must do one of the following:
- Return it to its owner or
- Arrange for the Animal Welfare Service to deal with the dog.
If you want to keep the dog you have found, you should contact the Animal Welfare Service who will explain the legal procedure for doing this.
However well meaning, you must remember it is illegal to keep a stray dog and not inform the Animal Welfare Officer or the police that you have it in your possession.
Dogs do get lost for all sorts of reasons through no fault of their owners and accidents do happen. It is likely that the dog has an owner who is desperately looking for it.
Code of conduct
The law states that:
- You must always ensure your dog is wearing a collar and identity disc. Microchips are excellent as a 'back up' in case the collar is removed or falls off accidentally. If your dog is easily identifiable it makes re-uniting you with your lost pet so much easier and less distressing for everyone concerned.
- When out walking, you must keep your dog under control at all times. Wyre borough has designated areas where dogs are banned and areas where they can exercise freely.
To ensure your dog doesn't stray, when at home, keep your gates locked and the doors closed. During the summer months if you have your doors and windows open, ensure your dog is in an enclosed area or on a running chain in the garden. Ensure your garden walls and fences are sturdy and high enough to prevent the dog jumping over.
Make sure your dog is never left alone and a responsible person is left in charge.
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