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Lost and stray dogs

What to do if you lose your dog

Contact the dog warden

Dogs found to be straying will often be picked up by our dog warden. In the first instance you should contact us on 01223 457900 to see if we have picked up your dog. If we have not picked up your dog a lost dog report will be added to our lost dog register, and if we then find your dog you will be contacted.

Contact local animal shelters

Even if the dog warden has no knowledge of your pet, it is worth calling the local animal shelter anyway - someone may have taken the dog directly there, or it may have wandered into another local authority area.

You can contact Wood Green Animal Shelter on 0300 303 9333.

Check your local areas

Visit places where you usually walk your dog - it may have just decided to walk itself! Look around your local area and if you have moved recently, ask around at your last address. It is surprising how far dogs have been known to travel.

Advertising a lost dog

There are a number of free online places where you can advertise lost dogs, including:

A number of these organisations will also operate to a wider audience on social media websites.

Information required for lost dogs

You should record the following information when advertising lost dogs or reporting them to the council:

  • medication or medical problems (including frequency of medication if applicable)
  • whether the dog is neutered
  • distinguishing features, e.g. scars, unique colouring
  • behaviour traits
  • microchip details
  • location of where the dog was lost
  • age
  • breed
  • colour
  • gender
  • details of any collar or tag.

Illegal advertising

If you want to advertise a lost pet in Cambridge, there are regulations on how to advertise when putting up posters on street furniture. Further information can be found on the flyposting page.

Stolen pets

If you believe your pet has been stolen you should report it to Cambridgeshire Police.

Report a stray dog

If you find a stray dog in Cambridge you are legally required to report it to us.

  • Call our Customer Service Centre on 01223 457900 or
  • Email
  • Evenings and weekend: Call our out-of-hours number: 0300 303 8389

You will be asked to give a full description of the dog, details about the location it found as well as the date and time the dog was found. Our dog warden will then make arrangements with you to collect the dog and take it to kennels.

Keeping found stray dogs

It is possible to keep a stray dog which you have found. However it is very important that you contact us so that our dog warden can fill in the relevant form for you. If you change your mind about keeping the dog within the first month of finding it, the dog must be returned to the dog warden; it cannot be given to a friend or relative. The dog legally remains 'found property' and never truly becomes the property of the finder.

Claiming stray dogs

If you lose your dog you should telephone the dog warden immediately on 01223 457900. If the warden has your dog, you will have to pay charges as set out below.

The council is entitled to charge all expenses reasonably incurred, which includes one or more of the following:

  • Statutory fee (mandatory): £25
  • Reclaiming fee for dogs found during office hours (includes £25 statutory fee): £142.55
  • Reclaiming fee for dogs found outside office hours (includes £25 statutory fee): £152.10
  • Kennelling charges: £16.20 per night
  • Transport charge to Wood Green: £65.85
  • Wood Green administration cost per dog: £51.70
  • Out of hours collection and transport charge:
    • Collected on a weekday evening (4pm to 8am): £96.75
    • Collected on the weekend: £107.50
    • Collected on a bank holiday: £150.50

You will not be entitled to get it back unless you pay these first. You can pay these at the customer service centre or over the phone during our regular business hours.

You will be expected to collect your dog from the kennels: directions will be given once full payment has been made.


Any dog found wandering alone in a public place is classed as a stray and will be dealt with by the dog warden under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. There may be an additional offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 if the dog was found on a public highway.

Lost and stray dogs outside Cambridge

If you lose your dog or want to report a stray but you do not live in Cambridge, please contact South Cambridgeshire District Council.

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