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Following the introduction of housing measures in November 2021, you must keep your poultry and captive birds indoors to protect them from Avian Influenza (bird flu). View the Avian Influenza (bird flu) guidance for more information.

Stray dogs

This page contains information about procedures relating to stray dogs.

If the dog is dangerous, it should be dealt with directly by the police. If the situation is an emergency, please contact the police on 999 (or 101 depending on the seriousness of the situation).

  • if you're not sure who the owner is Report a stray dog
  • if you're certain you know who the dog owner is and it is safe to do so, please return the dog to its owner

Icon for pdf Stray dogs in County Durham video transcript (PDF, 109.7kb)

The law

On 1 June 2017, a Public Space Protection Order for dog control came into force in County Durham. This Order makes it an offence to allow a dog to stray (wander loose/roam free) without a responsible owner present. If you're caught allowing your dog to stray, you will be issued with a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice or prosecuted if the Fixed Penalty Notice isn't paid. See enforcement powers for irresponsible dog owners for details.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when I 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 and are not accompanied by their owner or a person in charge. A neighbourhood warden will come and collect the dog and check to see if it has a dog microchip, or has any other means of identification (such as a collar and identification tag). If we scan the dog and it is microchipped, we can find out its owner. We will then attempt to contact the owner to let them know we have found the dog.

Stray dogs can only be collected between the following times; 

  • Monday to Thursday - 9.00am to 7.00pm
  • Friday 11.00am to 9.00pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 5.00pm to 9.00pm

There is no collection service out of hours. If you find a dog outside of the above working hours, we will contact you to arrange to collect the dog as soon as possible within these hours, alternatively you can contact Stray Aid and arrange to take the dog directly to them.

If we're unable to contact the owner, or the dog has no means of identification, and/or the dog has been collected as a stray previously, we will take it to Stray Aid kennel provider.

What happens to a stray dog once it is taken to Stray Aid?

We will not put a dog down. If a dog has not been claimed within 7 days it will be transferred to the ownership of Stray Aid and they will offer the dog for re-homing.

What should I do if I have lost my dog?

Contact Stray Aid to find out if your dog has been taken there. If your dog is at the kennels you will be able to collect it. You will have to pay a release fee which will vary depending upon how long your dog has been at the kennels.

How can I/other dog owners prevent dogs from straying?

Responsible dog owners

Dogs should always be walked and exercised with a responsible dog owner present. Never allow your dog to wander/roam loose or exercise on its own. On 1 June 2017, it became an offence to do so. We regularly encourage and promote responsible dog ownership through campaigns.


Legally, all dogs must be microchipped by the time they are 8 weeks old and contact details kept up-to-date on an approved database. This will help your dog to be returned to its rightful owner quickly. Find out where to get your dog microchipped free of charge on our Dog microchipping page. Alternatively, contact your vet.

Collar and identification tag

Legally, all dogs must wear a collar and identification tag with contact details. This will help dogs to be identified.