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Lost and stray dogs

What to do if you lose your dog

Contact the dog warden

Contact us on 01223 457900 to check whether we have picked up your dog, thinking it is a stray dog.

Out of office hours, you can report a lost dog online.

If we have not picked up your dog, we’ll add a report to our register of lost dogs, and will contact you if we find it.

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 during our normal office hours (Monday-Friday 9am-4pm), please call us on 01223 457900 and we will arrange for an officer to come and collect the dog. Alternatively, if you are able, you can take the dog to Wood Green, the Animals' Charity.

If you find a stray dog outside our normal office hours you can:

  • Call Wood Green, the Animals' Charity, on 0300 303 9333 (8.30am-4.30pm Saturday and Sunday) or 07775 847 752 (out of hours) to make arrangements to take the dog to them
  • Keep the dog overnight and contact us on the next working day.

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 you are the owner of a stray dog that has been held, you will have to pay a £25 statutory charge plus our administrative and kennelling costs before your dog is released. You will also have to pay for any vets' treatment if your dog was ill or injured when it was seized.

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

  • Statutory fee (mandatory): £25
  • Kennelling charges: £17.01 per night
  • Transport charge to Wood Green (in office hours): £69.18
  • Kennelling administration cost: £53.32 per dog

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.


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.