Stray Dogs


Stray Dogs


Dog owners have a responsibility to control their dogs and prevent them from straying and causing injury or damage. It is a legal requirement for owners to ensure that their dog has an identity tag with the owner’s contact details. We also recommend that owners microchip their dogs, making sure that the details are kept up to date. 

Microchipping will be a legal requirement for all dogs over 8 weeks old from April 2016.

If your dog gets out of your property or away from you, regardless of how it happened, it may be collected as a stray and you will be charged for its return.

If you lose your dog

During working hours, contact the Dog Control Team on 07815 512833, who will be able to tell you if the dog has been collected.

Owners must pay a fee and kennel charges to reclaim their dogs, which must be paid before the dog can be collected.

Fee £78, Kennel charges £26 per day

If you find a stray dog

A stray dog can be defined as one in a public place, not under the control of its keeper. Not all dogs out on their own are lost, and if the animal appears comfortable and is not causing a danger, it may well find its way home without further assistance.

If you decide to take personal responsibility for a stray dog you must, by law, do one of the following things:

  • Return it to its owner if they can be identified. If the dog is wearing a collar and tag, this is straightforward. If not, your local vet should have a microchip reader and if the dog is chipped they will be able to obtain contact details.

  • Contact the Dog Control Team on 07815 512833 to collect the dog. If you have to leave a message, your call will be returned within 30 minutes. Please note that if you take the dog beyond Epping Forest District Council boundaries we will not be able to collect it from you.

You would be committing an offence if you find a stray dog and keep it without the permission of the local authority.

Local Council Role

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, your local council is responsible for dealing with Stray Dogs found within its area.

The London Borough of Waltham Forest provides a collection service for Epping Forest District Council and, if you have found a stray, they will collect the dog from you. You can contact during the following hours:

7 am and 9 pm weekdays

10 am and 7 pm weekends and Bank Holidays.

There is no service on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Years Day.

The Local Authority must keep the dog for seven days, after which it becomes the property of the authority and it will be destroyed or re-homed if it has not been claimed by the owner.

Police Role

The Police have no responsibility to deal with a dog that is simply straying. They do retain responsibility for traffic safety and should, therefore, attend if a stray dog was a danger to traffic.

The main role of the Police in Essex is in dealing with dangerous dogs; a dog that has either attacked someone or is one of the legally prohibited breeds. Unless an attack is actually in progress, the Police should be contacted on telephone number101, not 999.