Every year in the UK, thousands of dogs are lost, stray or are stolen.
Many strays are picked up and will end up in a local dog pound where they will stay for a period of time before being re-homed or PTS.
Owners have a limited amount of time to re-claim their dog from a pound before they loose their right of ownership.
It is important to act quickly if your dog disappears and inform the appropriate authorities.
If your dog is found and you have already registered its loss, you may save it from being placed in a pound and also save yourself a fee getting the dog returned to you.
By law every dog has to wear a collar with the owners name, address and telephone number on a tag attached to it at all times.
There is also now a legal requirement that all dogs over 8 weeks of age must be microchipped
Compliance with these laws may speed up the dogs safe return to you.
Tattooing your dog is another form or safeguarding it against loss and is particularly effective if a dog is stolen or strays outside of your local Dog Warden's area.
There are National registers of all microchipped. and tattooed dogs to which finders can refer to help get your dog back to you.
These forms of marking are difficult to spot and obliterate and can greatly increase your chances of getting the dog back if it has been stolen.
Many people who lose their dog are, naturally, very upset and interviews indicate that these feelings are made worse by a burden of guilt if they feel that they could have done more in retrospect.
Don't wait until it happens to you - get your dog microchipped. As soon as possible.
(For more detailed information use the links in the left hand column.)
The definition of a stray dog is a dog unsupervised in a public place regardless of whether it is wearing a collar and tag.
Animal Welfare officers will endeavor to return a dog to its owner if it has been caught straying for the first time (if contact can be made with the owners in time). In the majority of cases stray dogs will be transported to an approved holding kennels where they are kept by law for seven days, enabling the owner to claim the dog. The dog will only be released upon payment of a fine and any other costs incurred during its detention. All stray dogs are scanned to see if they have been implanted with a microchip.
After seven days the dog is legally no longer the property of its owner and is able to be re-homed.
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 section 150 requires the finder of a stray dog to:
Return the dog to its owner, or -
Contact the Local Authority for the area in which the dog was found;
If the finder fails to take one of these courses of action, they will have committed an offence and would be liable, upon conviction, to a fine.
If the finder requests to keep the dog, he must supply the officer with his contact details and details of the dog. The officer is required to keep a record of these details.
Regulations require that the Animal Welfare Officer makes appropriate enquiries to ascertain that the finder is a suitable person to keep the dog.
The finder must then be informed verbally and in writing that he is obliged to keep the dog (if unclaimed by the owner) for not less than one month and failure to comply with that obligation is an offence. The finder has an obligation to keep the dog in good condition whilst in their care which includes any emergency veterinary treatment.
The above - Courtesy of Coventry City Council.