What to do if you have found a dog on its own?

If you’ve noticed an unfamiliar dog in your area, try to judge the situation and consider the safety of the dog and of yourself. A frightened or injured dog may behave unpredictably. A sudden move may spook him, causing him to bolt into traffic or attack you. If the dog looks frightened, sick, injured, or if for any reason you feel uneasy about the situation, stay away from him and notify your local dog warden, your vet, or a local rescue centre.

If the dog appears approachable, remember to use caution and common sense. When approaching the dog, speak calmly and make sure he can see you at all times as you approach, and perhaps entice him to come to you by offering a morsel of food. Remember that although he might look approachable, you are still a stranger to him. Check him for ID tags or tattoos.

Under the new law that came into force on 6 April 2016, all dogs must be microchipped and registered on one of the approved databases. All puppies must be microchipped and registered by the age of eight weeks. If the dog is approachable please take him to the nearest vet to scan for the microchip. It’s free of charge and owners will be notified instantly. 

If the dog is not microchipped, it is a legal requirement to contact your local dog warden. If the owner claims the dog through the dog warden, the dog warden can advise the owner on the responsibilities of dog ownership and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Very few local shelters have the place and resources to keep lost and stray animals. In Hackney, dogs not claimed within seven days will be transferred to Battersea Dogs Home. If you are not willing to leave the dog at the shelter, you can ask if the warden will allow you to foster the dog while also filing a found report by providing the description, the location where you found it, and your contact information.

Never assume that the dog you found was abandoned, or homeless until you have concrete evidence or until all efforts to find an owner have failed. It could be a case of a stolen dog that managed to escape and now is lost.

Older people will not have access to the internet or could have difficulties going out so please make sure there are no elderly people in your neighborhood whose dog escaped before taking further actions. Ask your neighbors if they know found dog or heard about someone who lost their dog.

Look out for “lost dog notice” in your area.

Consider putting up a ‘found dog’ poster and giving your contact details so the owner can get in touch if they see it.

Consider that the dog might have traveled quite far and the posters could be one mile away or more.

Also, consider that the dog may have escaped in the last few hours and the posters haven’t gone up yet. Maybe the dog’s owner is disabled and unable to create and put posters up.

Don’t release the dog to ANYONE until you are positive that you have found his or her rightful family! Always ask for the ownership proof (photos, vet records, details of the dog colour, particular marking). Don’t be too descriptive. If someone calls to claim the dog you found make THEM tell YOU what their missing dog looks like.

If no owner found

The mandatory waiting period before rehoming a found dog is seven days. If you would like to adopt the dog you found, the dog warden will pass your details to the dog kennels and one of the representatives will contact you to check if you are suitable for adopting a dog. Before choosing to adopt a dog, make sure you are ready for the commitment. It will require some financial stability to make sure they are taken care of properly. They will surely repay with lots of love and loyalty for years to come. #AdoptDontShop