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Advice for dog owners

Advice for dog owners

When buying a dog:

  • Make sure you know your legal responsibilities as a dog owner
  • Research the breed you intent to buy
  • Check with the seller if any necessary tests have been carried out
  • Never buy on impulse or because you feel sorry for the puppy
  • Never buy from someone who offers to deliver your puppy or who arranges to meet you somewhere

Read about the benefits of adopting a dog on the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home website. Visit the Animal Care College website to register for a free distance learning course on how to care for your pet. 

Neutering is the surgical removal of the reproductive organs of animals. Neutering is known as 'spaying' in females and 'castration' in males. There are many health and behavioural advantages in neutering your pet. Read about the benefits of neutering on the Dogs Trust website.

All dogs must be microchipped. Read our dog ownership and the law page for more details.Get your dog microchipped and, should he become lost or stolen, he is more likely to be safely returned to you. Dog tattoo identification offers a permanent, visible means of identifying your pet if he is lost or stolen. Find out more about dog tattooing on the National Dog Tattoo Register website.

Dogs bark for many reasons. It could be excited, bored, attention seeking, scared, lonely, frustrated or guarding you and your home. Constant barking can become a nuisance. Contact us for guidance on how to stop your dog barking.

Visit the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home website for advice about how to deal with problem behaviour. For more help, contact a dog trainer or dog behaviourist. 

Read the lost dogs page to find out what to do if you lose or find a dog (or other animal.)

If you have lost a dog call the Animal Warden. 

Bring proof of identity

Before your dog is given back to you, you must provide proof of your identity, e.g.: driving licence or utility bill and proof of ownership. This could include any of the following:

    • A printed photograph of the dog (a picture on a mobile phone is not acceptable)
    • A vaccination certificate
    • A letter on headed paper from a vet
    • A pedigree certificate
    • Receipt of purchase
    • Pet insurance certificate

When we are satisfied that you are the owner and you have paid the £85 Council fee you will be given the location of the dog and a form to take to with you to the kennels. The kennels will not release the dog without the form. If the dog is not claimed within 7 days the dog becomes the property of the Council and will be re-homed.


The Local Authority Fee is £85. On the first occasion only, if the dog is properly tagged and can be returned to the owner, this fee may be waived. You will also be expected to pay any kennelling fees, veterinary expenses and any out of hours call-out charges for the collection of a stray dog. You will be sent an invoice detailing any charges.

RSPCA Gold Stray Dogs Award 2017

Check identification tags

  • If you find a stray dog, check if the dog is wearing an identification tag, so that you can return him/her to the dog owner

Contact us

  • If the dog doesn't haven't any identification, contact our Animal Warden immediately and arrange for her to collect the dog

You will be asked to give

    • Your name
    • Your address
    • Your contact details and
    • The place where the dog was found


What happens next? 

We will collect the dog as soon as possible. The dog will then be taken to a secure kennel while steps are taken to re-unite the dog with it's owner. If you find a stray dog you can apply to keep it. Read on to find out more.

Yes, you can request to keep a stray dog

If you find a stray dog you can request to keep the dog. However you can't pass the dog on to another person to look after.

Process for keeping a stray dog

If you choose to keep the dog, there is a process that must be followed:

Our Animal Warden will visit you to scan the dog looking for a microchip containing the registered owner’s details, photograph it and note any identifying features (breed, size, gender and colour). This information will be used to try to locate the dog’s owner and reunite them where possible.

Legislation requires that our Animal Warden determines whether you are a suitable person to keep the dog. This will be carried out by means of a home check which assesses the following factors:

  • Size, location and suitability of your home, looking at issues such as garden space and fence height
  • Your lifestyle - are there babies and young children present, what are your working hours and how long will the dog be left alone
  • Whether it is a suitable environment for the type of dog
  • Proximity to the registered owner’s home (if applicable)

What happens next?

  • If our Animal Warden is satisfied with your suitability you will be given a legal notice. This explains that you are legally obliged to keep the dog (if unclaimed by the owner) for at least 28 days and that failure to comply with that obligation is a criminal offence. This is to prevent the dog being abandoned or let loose and becoming a stray again. By accepting this notice you are accepting the dog, including known and unknown conditions / traits / behaviours and are responsible for its welfare
  • You will have to pay any expenses incurred in looking after the dog
  • The home check doesn't assess the temperament of the dog. The only way for it to be properly assessed is for us to take and kennel it
  • If the dog is not claimed by the rightful owner within 7 days of kennelling it will be put up for rehoming
  • If, at any time, a person claims the dog, and is able to prove they are the rightful owner, you will have to give the dog back
  • After the 28 days has lapsed you must neuter the dog. For advice on when it is suitable to have a dog neutered, contact a reputable veterinary practice

More details

For any further help or information contact our Animal Warden.

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