Stray, abandoned, lost and found dogs

Note: All dogs aged eight weeks and have to be microchipped with full ownership details, or owners will face a fine - click for details ...

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Stray, abandoned, lost and found dogs

Stray dogs in Adur and Worthing are not a common sight. The Councils' Dog Wardens will respond to any calls regarding sightings of stray or lost dogs and will investigate and attempt to catch any reported animals that they come across.

Often members of the public will catch and detain any dogs that are wandering around on their own. In these cases the Dog Wardens will collect any strays that have been secured by members of the public, and reported, as soon as they are able.

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Precautions you can take to avoid losing your dog

Losing your dog can be very stressful and worrying. To help avoid all the suffering involved certain simple precautions can be taken to ensure your pet remains safe and if lost is returned to you quickly:

  • Make sure your garden is secure and your dog unable to climb, jump, squeeze or dig its way out. Gates should have secure latches and inform people who may use them to 'close the gate'.
  • Devise a procedure for all your family when entering and leaving the house so that the dog is not able to slip out.
  • Avoid leaving your dog in a vehicle alone for any time. Often people leave a window down for air and it gives people an opportunity to get in your car and steal your dog or release it on the road. Dogs can also die if left in hot cars for any length of time.
  • Make sure your dog has a collar with a visible and legible up to date identification disc on it. It is preferable to include a telephone number where you can be contacted anytime.
  • Consider a more permanent form of identification, such as microchipping or tattooing.

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Collar and tag

The best way to ensure the safe return of your dog, if lost, is to provide it with a collar and tag.

It is a legal requirement under the Control of Dogs Order 1992 that every dog, while in a public place, must wear a collar with the name and address of its owner inscribed on it, or on a disc attached to the collar. Failure to do so could result in prosecution and a fine of up to £2,000.

Microchipping isn't compulsory until 6th April 2016 when it will be a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped but is a useful aid - see microchipping (below).

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As of 6th April 2016 all dogs aged eight weeks and over will have to be microchipped with full ownership details.

A microchip is a small electronic device designed to identify an individual dog. You might think of it as a number plate that you would see on a car but it's barely larger than a grain of rice and is inserted under the dogs skin at the base of the neck, between the shoulder blades. It is completely invisible and causes the dog no problems. The procedure does not require an anaesthetic and is no more painful than a standard vaccination. It holds a unique serial number that can be read by anyone with the correct scanning device.

Using this serial number a registered professional can get the dog's owner's contact details so that a lost dog can be quickly re-united with the family. (Be aware that this does not replace the requirement to have a tag on a collar).

The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 requires every dog over 8 weeks old which is not a certified working dog to be implanted with a microchip and for the keepers details to be recorded on a recognised database. The implanter must be qualified to do so and usually it can be done by any vet and many animal charities for a small fee. Also, if you move home or change your contact telephone numbers or if a dog is transferred to a new keeper for any reason, the current keeper must ensure the database remains accurate with the new contact details.

If your dog is found not to be microchipped after the 6th of April 2016 you may be given a Notice of 21 days to comply. This is to give you time to have the chipping done at the implanter of your choice, at your convenience.

It is an offence under this act with a maximum fine of £500 to not comply with such a notice. Also, an Authorised Person may without the consent of the dogs keeper arrange for the dog to be chipped and recover the costs of doing so.

Most microchipping will be done within weeks of birth and rarely will you need to worry about anything other than keeping the database up to date. But if you have any doubt about your dogs chip please contact a professional who will be able to scan your dog and confirm it has been done.

Adur & Worthing Councils' Dog Warden can microchip your dog in your own home see below for microchipping price.

Regulations - full details on the microchipping of dogs can be read:

For more information about microchipping see:

See also:

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Neutering (spaying and castration)

Neutering may help deter your dog from straying. Neutering in bitches is commonly called 'spaying' or 'castration' in dogs.

Apart from possibly helping to stop your dog straying it prevents litters of unwanted puppies and may prevent testicular cancer in dogs and pyometra in bitches.

Some animal charities offer free or subsidized neutering.

For more information about neutering see:

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What to do if you have lost a dog

You will need to contact Adur & Worthing Councils' Dog Warden Service:

During the daytime between 9:00am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday:

  • Adur and Worthing - 01903 221064

At all other times (Evenings, Weekends and Bank Holidays):

  • 07713 889 128
  • 01273 263157 - 24 Hour Answerphone

Alternatively contact Sussex Police on 101.

If you have lost your dog please ring Adur & Worthing Councils and we will log the details and let you know if it has been handed in. There is a release fee that would need to be paid, if your dog has gone to the kennels.

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What to do if you have found a stray

If you find a stray dog in the Adur or Worthing area please contact us:

During the daytime between 9:00am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday:

  • 01903 239999

At all other times (Evenings, Weekends and Bank Holidays):

  • 07713 889128
  • 01273 263143 - 24 Hour Answerphone

We will log the dog's details and you can then either:

  • Take the dog to the Councils' out of hours reception point which is Grove Lodge Veterinary Hospital, Upper Brighton Road, Worthing (by Grove Lodge Roundabout) Tel 01903 234866
  • Keep the dog overnight, which a Dog Warden will then pick up from your house the following morning.

Strays that are picked up are either returned to their owners, if known, or taken to kennels where they are kept for up to seven days. If they are not claimed within this time they are usually re-homed. Any member of the public who finds a dog must report it to the Dog Wardens and Sussex Police on 101. However the Police no longer have responsibility for stray dogs so they will not accept a stray at your local police station.

If a member of the public finds a stray or lost dog and wishes to keep the animal they can do so, as long as they are willing to return it to its owner, if they come forward within 28 days. But be aware there is a legal obligation to keep the dog in their care for that time once the dog is signed over to them by a Dog Warden.

If you find a dog and are considering giving it a home if its owner has abandoned it, please consider this decision carefully. It is a commitment taking this course of action, as unknown dogs can appear well behaved but you need to be sure you are prepared to take responsibility for its behaviour, health and wellbeing.

Before the dog is signed over to your care, one of the Dog Wardens will need to carry out a home check to make sure you are able to offer the animal a safe, secure and appropriate home.

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Prices from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021.

Kennelling Charges for Stray Dogs
DurationCharges - Adur and Worthing
Up to 1 day (or part thereof) £57.00
Up to 2 days £72.50
Up to 3 days £87.50
Up to 4 days £103.00
Up to 5 days £118.50
Up to 6 days £133.50
Up to 7 days £149.00

Adur and Worthing dogs:

  • For the first day the fee payable is for the whole day or part thereof
  • There is a charge to return dog from kennels to owner of up to £57.00
  • Dogs will be detained for a maximum of seven days, after which time if not reclaimed they will become the property of the Council and re-homed
  • Charges include the £25 statutory fee
  • Any necessary veterinary charges and their kennelling fees will be charged separately and are liable to VAT

  • Charge to microchip a dog is £18.50

Prices are subject to an annual increase in April, prices correct as at 01-04-2020.

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Abandoned dogs

Abandoned dogs do turn up on the streets of Adur and Worthing and in most cases are found a new home.

It is illegal to wilfully abandon a dog.

If you own a dog that you can no longer cope with it is possible to give the dog to a rescue centre to be re-homed. This may be difficult to do, but it is far more compassionate than to throw the dog out to fend for itself on the streets.

If you find yourself in this predicament then you can contact either the Dog Warden for advice or contact Worthing & District Animal Rescue Service (WADARS), the Dogs Trust, RSPCA or another Animal Charity.

If your reason for no longer wanting your dog is to do with a behavioural problem, it is well worth getting professional advice before giving up on the dog.

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Reporting a lost, found or abandoned dog

To report a lost, found or abandoned dog please phone us (see contact details above).

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Environmental Protection Act 1990 empowers Local Authorities to take a range of actions.

See also:

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Page last updated: 10 April 2020