A stray dog is any dog running free in a public place without the presence of the owner. Legally, it makes no difference whether the dog is loose accidentally, has been released without the authority of the owner or has been deliberately allowed to roam. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the law requires all local councils to treat all unaccompanied dogs on public land as strays, regardless of whether they have visible identification or have been microchipped. The Environmental Protection Technician must seize such dogs and, if they cannot be immediately returned to their owner, they must be taken to the council stray pound where they are held for a mandatory period of seven clear days after seizure. The Environmental Protection Technician is authorised to discharge this function on behalf of Stratford-on-Avon District Council (SDC).

Where strays are microchipped or have visible identification (and the details are up-to-date), every attempt will be made by the Environmental Protection Technician to reunite them with their owners. A £25 fine, set by central Government, is payable prior to the dog being returned. Dog owners are required to contact SDC by telephone to pay the fine.

Dogs without visible identification and no microchip will be transferred directly to Birmingham Dogs Home to serve the statutory seven-day holding period. Owners wishing to reclaim their dog during this time will be required to provide evidence of ownership and to pay the £25 stray dog fine, plus daily kennelling fees (currently £12 per day). Any necessary emergency veterinary treatment will also be reclaimed from the owner. Costs are payable to Birmingham Dogs Home upon collection of the dog.

In accordance with new Microchipping legislation, all dogs (over the age of eight weeks) must be microchipped. Upon collection of your dog from Birmingham Dogs Home, you will be offered microchipping at a cost of £12.50. If you decide against this, the Environmental Protection Technician will be notified and a notice will be served, requiring you to have your dog microchipped within 21 days. If you fail to comply with the notice, you will be liable to pay a fine of £500.

The Environmental Protection Technician works in conjunction with DogLost and K9 Search UK to maximise the chances of stray dogs being reunited with their rightful owners. Our stray dog service is delivered in-house by our Environmental Protection Technician; stray dogs are considered a high priority and are attended to as soon as possible.

Stray Dog Service

The Environmental Protection Technician will attend to stray dogs during the following hours:

  • Monday to Thursday: 08:45 to 15:00
  • Friday: 08:45 to 12:00

Out of Hours Procedure

If you have found a dog after these times, or on a Saturday, you are permitted to transport the dog to Birmingham Dogs Home yourself. Birmingham Dogs Home is located at Catherine-de-Barnes Lane, Catherine-de-Barnes, Solihull, B92 0DJ. While we accept that Birmingham Dogs Home is not on our patch, Stratford strays receive excellent provision and we are indebted to them for offering stray dog facilities.

You could also pop to your local veterinary practice and ask for the dog to be scanned. Where dogs are microchipped, they can then be reunited with owners.

If transporting the dog to Birmingham Dogs Home is not an option, or if the dog is not microchipped, we would appeal to you to hold the dog overnight if it is safe to do so.

Please note, it is no longer the responsibility of the police to accept stray dogs and they should not be taken to police stations. The police does, however, retain its duties with regard to dangerous dogs.

Lost Dogs

Birmingham Dogs Home holds a register of missing dogs. If you have lost your dog within the District of Stratford-on-Avon, please contact Birmingham Dogs Home on 0121 643 5211. They will be able to tell you whether your dog has been impounded, along with the reclaiming process and any costs incurred. If your dog is not impounded, a description of the dog will be taken and the details logged.

If your dog is not at Birmingham Dogs Home, you may wish to contact DogLost on 0844 8003220. In addition, you can register your dog as missing with K9 Search UK either by visiting the K9 Search UK website or by calling 07988 433187. You are also advised to contact dog wardens covering neighbouring areas in case your dog has crossed a border and been taken to a different pound.

Dog warden contacts

Other useful contacts

Unclaimed Strays

In accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1990, stray dogs are detained for seven clear days after seizure. After this time, in accordance with the Act, ownership of dogs that have not been claimed transfers automatically to Birmingham Dogs Home. At this point, the former owner of the stray dog has no legal claim for the return of the animal. Once their suitability has been assessed, dogs will become available for rehoming and will appear on the Birmingham Dogs Home website.

Dogs are only put to sleep if they pose a danger to the public, are extremely ill or have suffered severe injuries and euthanasia is recommended by a veterinary surgeon to relieve suffering; or where the dog is recognised as a type of dog banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.


For further information, please contact Environmental Health:

Last updated on 08/08/2018

Contact the Environmental Health team