Warrington Animal Welfare Advice if you Found a Dog

Found a lost dog advice by animal charity

Animal Welfare Advice if you find a Dog

If you find a stray dog – then

  1. Check to see if the dog is wearing any form of identification that will enable you to return him directly to his owner.
  2. You can check to see if the dog is chipped – you can take to your local vets, who will scan them for free, or  can contact local charity, Harvey’s Army www.facebook.com/groups/HarveysArmyNorth/ to send someone around to scan him.
  3. Look to see if anyone has reported the dog missing on local social media groups e.g. Warrington Pets Lost and Found.
  4. You can post the dog on social media to see if you can locate the owners.
If you do manage to find the owner, you will need to make sure that you return the dog safely and to the genuine owners.
If you come across a lost or stray dog, the law requires that you always contact the local dog warden who will be a trained dog handler and is responsible for reuniting lost and stray dogs with their owners.
If a lost or stray dog is easily identifiable (e.g. is wearing a collar and tag that includes owner contact details) and you decide to initiate reuniting dog with owner, please follow the below steps. Remember that a lost or stray dog is likely to be nervous and may be unfamiliar with their surroundings.
  1. When contacting the owner, consider an appropriate location to meet them. You may want to ask that they meet you to collect their dog in a public location.
  2. Don’t give away any personal details to the owner if you’re uncomfortable doing so.  The important thing is that the owner knows where and when to collect their dog.
  3. If you have committed to reuniting the dog with owner at an agreed location but feel nervous about the handover, consider asking a friend to join you. Alternatively you could tell a friend or family member what you are doing, where you are going in advance and when you plan to get back.
  4. Take a mobile phone with you to the handover so that you can make contact with friends, family or dog warden if you need to.
  5. Trust your instincts; if something about the reunion doesn’t feel right then it’s best for both you and the dog that you contact the local dog warden (see numbers on this page), and so that they can take responsibility for the handover.
If you are not able to location the owner then contact the local authority dog warden straight away and arrange for him/her to collect the dog.  Please remember that rehoming organisations, including Warrington Animal Welfare cannot take strays directly off the street or from well-meaning members of the public except under certain emergency situations.

What if I would like to adopt the dog?

Even if you are keen to adopt the dog, you will have to contact the Dog Warden and wait the 7 days period.
The dog warden can then pass on your details to the kennels and if they feel you are suitable you will be expected to go through their normal adoption criteria for transfer of ownership (if the owner is not found).
If you keep the dog in your home, you must inform the dog warden. You are then obliged by law to keep the dog for a period of 28 days. After this period you can keep the dog until such time that a person with proof of ownership claims him – in other
words legal ownership is not transferred to you and the original owner may demand the dog back at any time, no matter how long you have kept him or how much money you have spent (including any vet's fees).

Why is it not advisable to look after the dog in my own home?

  • Quite often people without informing the appropriate authorities such as the dog warden. It is a legal requirement for you to inform the dog warden if you take in a stray dog. If you don't, you could be accused of theft.
  • The description of the dog you leave with the local authority may not match up to that of the owner looking for their dog, which could then prevent a very upset owner from getting their much loved pet back.
  • The dog may have a microchip, which will not be scanned unless he goes into the local authority kennel.
  • One of the major disadvantages of keeping the dog yourself is that it is very easy to become emotionally attached to him. Handing the dog back to the owner can be very traumatic.
  • If the owner reclaims the dog through the dog warden, this will enable the dog warden to discuss the responsibilities of dog ownership, give advice on identification and follow up the case if necessary.
  • The loss of a dog often causes great distress on the part of the owner. In our experience, handing the dog over to the dog warden will give the owner the greatest chances of being reunited with their much loved companion.
Source: Dogs Trust
Dog Warden contact numbers:
  • Warrington - 0161 334 0042
  • Widnes/Halton/Runcorn - working hours please contact the council on 0303 333 4300, after 4pm or at weekends/bank holidays call 0151 374 2174.  0151 374 2174 
  • St Helens Dog Welfare and Enforcement Service - 01744 676299
  • Knowsley Dog Warden Service - 0151 4434712
  • Sefton Plus - 08451 400845
  • Liverpool Animal Wardens - 08452 417253
  • Wirral Animal Welfare Services - 0151 6478799