This policy covers the following activities in relation to dog control:
- Handling of stray dogs in normal office hours
- Handling of stray dogs outside of normal office hours
- Recovery of kennelling costs from known dog owners who fail to collect their dogs when they are found as strays
- Microchipping of dogs
- Investigation of dog fouling complaints
- Enforcement of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO's) in relation to Dog Control
- Dangerous dogs
- Requests for assistance from third parties
- Educational and promotional activities
- Policy review
This policy states how the Environmental Health Department operates in relation to issues of Dog Control. While predominantly concerning stray dogs, it does also cover other related issues such as microchipping and the promotion of responsible dog ownership.
The Environmental Health Department Enforcement Policy Statement governs the general approach to enforcement of all areas covered by the Environmental Health Department, as such it should be read in conjunction with this policy document.
This policy document should also be read in conjunction with specific departmental written instructions and procedures concerning the operation of the dog control service.
Handling of stray dogs within normal office hours
When reports regarding stray dogs are received by the department, the receiving officer will attempt to ascertain as much detail as possible with regards to the situation, the dog and precisely where it was found / seen.
The Dog Warden will be provided with details of reports on stray dogs as soon as is practicable and dispatched accordingly to investigate the report.
Once on site the Dog Warden will assess the situation and secure the dog (where possible) if it can be classified as a stray. A stray dog is defined as any dog which is roaming free without its owner being present. It does not matter if the dog has been intentionally allowed to roam or if it has escaped due to accident or by action of another individual. Only those dogs which can be classified as such will be secured and taken by the Dog Warden.
The Dog Warden is authorised to detain and seize any stray dog on public land. Where a stray dog is found on private land, the Dog Warden can and will only detail and seize a stray dog where the permission of the land owner has been obtained.
If a dog is found as a stray, the Dog Warden will make all reasonable enquiries as to ascertain the identity of its owner(s) including checking for implanted microchips, looking for details on dog collars and talking to persons who reported the stray dog or who are in the immediate vicinity. While the Council is not obliged to immediately return stray dogs to their owners, in circumstances where;
- The owners can be easily identified and contacted, and;
- Where the dog has not been reported as a stray before
the Dog Warden will attempt to return the stray dog to its owner at the point of it being secured and detained, thus avoiding the necessity to charge a release fee. Where the above criteria is not met and / or where circumstances make this approach unreasonable or impracticable, the dog will be taken directly to the kennels and registered as a stray dog.
Where the owner of a stray dog can be identified, and where it hasn't been returned to the owner as per above, the owner shall be given notice that their dog has been reported and collected by the Dog Warden as a stray dog. Said notice will detail the appropriate release fee which is payable and arrangements needed for them to reclaim their dog.
Stray dogs seized by the Council are held for seven clear days at the Council's kennelling facility. During that seven day period the owners of a stray dog may come forward and reclaim their dog. To do so they must pay the appropriate kennelling costs in addition to a release fee of £25.
Following the seven day period, stray dogs which are not reclaimed are handed to the kennels who in return will attempt to re-home them.
Handling of stray dogs outside the normal office hours
The Council's Dog Warden Service does not operate outside of normal office hours.
The Council's kennelling facility operate a drop off facility outside of normal office hours where members of the public, emergency services, etc can bring found stray dogs to.
There is no standard out of hours call service regarding stray dogs, however in emergency situations the kennels may undertake a call out visit to collect stray dogs.
All dogs taken in during out of normal office hours will be registered as a stray and detained in the Council's kennels. Provisions detailed in section 3 above regarding providing notice to known owners, retaining the dog for seven clear days and finally handing the dog to the kennels for re-homing apply here also.
Recovery of kennelling costs from known dog owners who fail to collect their dogs when they are found as strays
Unfortunately there are circumstances where the owners of stray dogs are known and make contact with the Council, but yet choose to not re-claim their dogs. This means that the Council is forced to retain the dogs for a full clear seven days and then pass the dog to the kennels for re-homing.
The Council is limited in what legal action it can take in these circumstances, however it is not fair or equitable that an owner who effectively abandons their animal in such a way should be allowed to do so without re-course.
The Council therefore will invoice known owners for the costs incurred in keeping their dog for the whole seven days. There will be done via invoice with appropriate follow up by should the invoice not be paid.
Microchipping of dogs
The Council actively promotes the micro-chipping of dogs and provides a service to dog owners who required their animals to be chipped according to legislation.
Where the Council seizes a stray dog who is found to be without an implanted micro-chip, a microchip will be implanted before the dog is either returned to its owner or before it is re-homed by the kennels. Where the Council incurs costs undertaking such actions, the cost will be recovered from the dog’s owners, however subject to availability, some of these micro-chipping services may be undertaken in partnership with external organisations such as the Dogs Trust, and therefore be free of charge.
The Council promotes responsible dog ownership and maintains regular drop in sessions in conjunction with external bodies such as the Dogs Trust to provide free micro-chipping and other responsible dog ownership advice.
The Council, via the Dog Warden also operates an upon-request microchipping service. As this service requires visits to persons homes to perform there is a charge which must be levied.
The Council is responsible for enforcing legislation in relation to the microchipping of dogs. Where it is made aware of a dog which is not microchipped, the Council will attempt to contact the owner to resolve the matter. Where adequate actions by the owner cannot be secured, the Council will legally require the dog to be microchipped. Enforcement action will be carried out according to the Environmental Health Enforcement Policy Statement.
Investigation of dog fouling complaints
Incidents of dog fouling reported to the Council will be recorded on the Environmental Health Department's M3 database system. An officer from the Neighbourhoods Team will investigate the report and take enforcement action as is appropriate for the circumstances.
Incidents of dog fouling will also be notified to the Dog Warden who will assist the assigned case officer with patrols of the area and, where applicable, the erection of appropriate dog fouling signage.
All reported incidents of dog fouling will be collated by the Neighbourhoods Team leader and that information used to plan future dog fouling patrol routes and locations.
Where applicable, the Council’s Environmental Services Department will be notified in order to have dog fouling cleared from public spaces.
Enforcement of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in relation to dog control
The Council has three PSPO's in relation to dog control in place within the district. These orders cover the following issues;
- Requiring owners to clean up after their dogs if they foul in a public place
- Requiring owners to put dogs on leads in specified cemeteries and burial grounds
- Prohibiting dogs from entering enclosed children's play and sports areas / facilities
These orders were implemented following a public consultation process and look to address the main issues affecting the public regarding irresponsible dog ownership.
The orders are in place for a 3 year period after which they are subject to review. At that stage each order will be reviewed to ensure it remains appropriate. Additionally, consideration will be given to any additional orders which may be required at that time.
At the review stage, those orders (existing and any new) will be reviewed according to the process specified in the appropriate legislation.
Dangerous dogs are predominately an area which the Police deal with. A memorandum of understanding is in effect between all local authorities and Nottinghamshire Police which confirms this and commits the Police to taking the lead on such matters.
The Council’s Dog Control Service will where necessary and appropriate support the Police or any other agency in dealing with dangerous dogs, however, the Council does not accept any liability or responsibility in relation to costs for the kennelling of such animals. Such costs are the responsibility of the Police.
Requests for assistance from 3rd parties
Requests for assistance from bodies such as housing associations are sometimes received by the Council’s Dog Control Service. The Council’s Dog Control Service will support and assist where possible, however the Council is not responsible and will not take on any costs in relation to the kennelling of such animals.
Third Parties or the agencies who request the Council assist with a dog which is not a stray will be informed that while we can provide support, the costs for housing such animals must be met by themselves. Where possible the 3rd party or other agency should be informed that they are responsible for arranging appropriate kennelling themselves and that all costs in relation to kennelling are their responsibility.
Educational and promotional activities
The Council's Dog Control Service recognises the importance of education and promotion in tackling irresponsible dog ownership issues. The service is committed to undertaking educational and promotional activities to support and compliment the enforcement work undertaken.
The service has close links with bodies such as the Dogs Trust, and in conjunction with such partners has provided free drop in sessions across the district for several years to enable residents to have their dogs microchipped. The service will maintain such activities as appropriate.
The service will look to publicise successful enforcement cases where necessary to act as a deterrent for other potential offenders.
The service will work with the Communications team to maximise the potential of the use of media such as Facebook, Twitter, press releases, etc. in order to provide key messages to dog owners within the district.
To ensure this policy remains current and up to date it shall be subject to full review and revision once every 3 years or following any significant changes to legislation, practice or procedure.
Last Updated on Monday, March 6, 2023