Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act 2005-Section 68:
From April 2008 Stray Dogs are no longer the responsibility of the Police – Commencement of Section 68 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 amended section 150 of the EPA 1990 and repealed section 3 of the Dogs Act 1906 (c.32) (seizure of stray dogs by police) although the repeal does not apply for the purposes of section 2 (2) and (3) of the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 (c.28)
Section 68 – ‘Termination of police responsibility for stray dogs’ means that the Police no longer have responsibility for stray dogs; this change in the law came into force on Monday 7th April 2008.
Responsibility for stray dogs now rests solely with Local Authorities.
You will no longer be able to take a found dog to your local (or any) Police station – the Police no longer have involvement in lost and found dogs. Speak to your local authority to find out what alternative arrangements are now in place.
Environmental Protection Act 1990:
Part VIII of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990 concerns the seizure of stray dogs and delivery of stray dogs to the police or local authority officer.
This Act transferred the responsibility for dealing with stray dogs, from the Police to the Local Authority.
Under the EPA 1990, an officer appointed by the Local Authority (e.g. the dog warden) is required to deal with stray dogs, the officer may seize and detain any dog which is believed to be a stray (if the dog is on private property, consent from the land owner needs to be obtained). The Act defines the meaning of a public place.
The Officer will then serve notice in writing to the owner of the dog if known, or serve on the person whose address is given on the collar, stating that the dog has been seized, where it is being kept; and that it will be liable to be disposed of if it is not claimed within seven clear days after the serving of the notice and the payment of any charges due.
Once a seized dog has been detained for seven clear days, after seizure or delivery of notice on the owner and the owner has not claimed the dog and paid the fees due, the officer may dispose of the dog;
1) by selling or giving it to a person, who will in his opinion, care properly for the dog (the recipient becomes the new owner)
2) by selling it or giving it to an establishment for the reception of stray dogs; or (recipient becomes the new owner)
3) by destroying it in a manner to cause as little pain as possible.
No dogs seized under this Act are to be given or sold for vivisection.
The dog warden must keep a register of dogs seized; details to be recorded are given in the Environmental Protection (Stray Dogs) Regulations 1992.
The register is available for public inspection, free of charge at a reasonable time.
Dogs must also be properly fed and maintained whilst detained.
A dog may be destroyed within the statutory seven day period – if necessary to avoid further suffering on the advice of a veterinary surgeon
Finders of Stray Dogs (other than dog wardens or police):
Any person who finds a stray dog must;
1) return the dog to its owner or
2) take the dog to the Local Authority (for the area in which it was found)
And inform those in charge of where the dog was found. It is illegal to hold a found dog without reporting it first.
The Environmental Protection (Stray Dogs) Regulations 1992 describes the procedure to be followed where a stray dog is found by a member of the public who wishes to keep it. Where a dog has been brought in to the Local Authority, the finder may (under section 150(2) of the EPA 1990, request to keep the dog. Details as specified in law will be recorded.
If allowed to retain the dog, the finder must keep the dog for at least 28 days, however, the original owner can still claim the return of the dog, after this time – The Act does not deal with the civil law on ownership, e.g. the finder of a dog who follows all the procedures does not automatically become the dog’s legal owner after a period of 28 days, a dispute over ownership could follow. This is explained in the DOE Circular 6/1992: Control of Stray Dogs.
Under the Environmental Protection (Stray Dogs) Regulations 1992, the following procedure applies where the finder desires to keep a stray dog:
4.—(1) This regulation prescribes the procedure to be followed by the officer for the purposes of section 150(2)(a) before a finder desiring to keep a stray dog is allowed to remove it.
(2) The officer shall make a clear and accurate record of the following matters in a permanent form suitable for reference purposes—
(a) a brief description of the dog, including its breed (if known), and any distinctive physical characteristics or markings, tattoos or scars;
(b) any information which is recorded on a tag or collar worn by, or which is otherwise carried by, the dog;
(c) the date, time and place of the finding of the dog; and
(d) the name and address of the finder.
(3) Where the owner of the dog can be identified and can readily be contacted, the officer shall make reasonable attempts to contact him, and, if appropriate in the circumstances of the case, afford him forthwith a reasonable opportunity to collect the dog.
(4) The officer shall make all such enquiries as he considers appropriate in the circumstances of the case to ascertain that the finder is a fit and proper person to keep the dog, and that he is able to feed and care for it.
(5) The officer shall inform the finder both verbally and in writing that the finder is obliged under section 150(3) to keep the dog (if unclaimed by the owner) for not less than one month, and that failure to comply with that obligation is a criminal offence.