What to do if you find a stray dog
If it is safe to do so and you are confident, check to see if the dog is wearing any form of identification, if so return them directly to their owner.
The Council's priority is to offer a centralised and co-ordinated service for the collection of stray dogs with the aim of reuniting dogs with their owners as quickly as possible.
If you aren't able to reunite the dog with its owner, then you must contact South Tyneside Council's Animal Welfare Officer straight away and arrange collection of the dog. You can do this by ringing the Council's Contact Centre on 0191 427 7000. The Animal Welfare Officer will collect the dog as soon as possible.
This service is available between the hours of 8.30am - 5pm, Monday - Friday. An out-of-hours dog collection service is available until 10pm on weekdays and at weekends, however there is no collection service outside of these hours.
You may wish to keep the dog with you until such time as arrangements can be made for its collection.
Please remember that rehoming organisations cannot take strays directly off the street or from well-meaning members of the public except under certain emergency situations.
If you think the dog is dangerous, it should be dealt with directly by the Police.
A dangerous dog is one that has already attacked, or puts a person in genuine fear for their safety, or the safety or others. It can be hard to define a vicious dog as it may simply be scared, hungry, or feels under threat.
If a dog has bitten somebody, attacked another dog or seems likely to attack, you should report it immediately to the Police on 101.
Why you shouldn't look after the dog in your own home
It may not be advisable to take a stray dog into your own home.
No assessment has been made of the dog's health or temperament and you could put yourself or your family at risk of injury or disease.
If you do take a stray dog in to your home, then the law requires you to tell the Council's Animal Welfare Officer. If you don't, you could be accused of theft.
After a stray dog is reported
The Council has a duty to collect and impound dogs that are found straying in a public place and are not accompanied by their owner or a person in charge.
No other organisation or charity can collect a stray dog and you should not hand a stray dog over to anyone but the owner or the Council's Animal Welfare Officer /out-of-hours dog warden.
Once reported, the Council's Animal Welfare Officer will collect the dog and will check to see if it has a microchip, or any collar/tag identification required by law.
If the dog is microchipped it will hopefully be possible to establish ownership and to contact the owner to let them know their dog has been found. Find out more about microchipping.
If it is not possible to contact the owner or the dog has no accurate means of identification, the Council's Animal Welfare Officer will take the dog to West Hall Kennels, Cleadon Lane, Whitburn.
Please note: dogs collected out of normal office hours will not be scanned for microchip details and will be taken direct to West Hall Kennels, Cleadon Lane, Whitburn.
After a stray dog is taken to the kennels
If a dog has not been claimed within 7 days of entering the kennels, it will be transferred to the ownership of West Hall Kennels who offer a re-homing service as part of their care programme.
If you would like to adopt the dog
Even if you are keen to adopt the dog, you will not be able to do this straight away. You must contact South Tyneside Council's Animal Welfare Officer who will arrange collection of the dog.
The Animal Welfare Officer can pass on your details to the kennels and then after a statutory 7 day period, if the owner has not been found and you are considered to be suitable, you will be expected to go through the kennel's normal rehoming process.
If you wish to keep the dog in your home, you must inform South Tyneside Council's Animal Welfare Officer.
You are legally obliged to provide certain information about the dog, with your name and address details to South Tyneside Council's Animal Welfare Officer and to keep the dog in your care for 28 days. You must not hand the dog over to any other person, organisation or charity during this period without informing the Council.
After this time you can keep the dog until the person with proof of ownership claims the dog. This means legal ownership is not transferred to you and the original owner may demand the dog back at any time, no matter how long you have kept the dog for or how much money you have spent looking after the dog.
What to do if you have lost your dog
Any dog that is unsupervised in a public place may be collected by the Council's Animal Welfare Officer.
If your dog has a tag with contact details, or is microchipped, then the Animal Welfare Officer will try to contact you. If the dog can't be taken straight home it will be taken to West Hall Kennels.
We recognise that losing your dog can be a traumatic experience. If you have lost your dog, call West Hall Kennels on 0191 529 2369 to see if your dog has been taken there. They can be contacted between 9am - 6pm, Monday - Saturday and between 9am - 12noon on Sundays.
If your dog cannot be found at West Hall Kennels, please contact other kennel providers in the area, as a member of the public may have taken your dog directly to an alternative local kennel provider.
If your dog has been taken to West Hall Kennels you will be able to collect it and you will have to pay a release fee. The amount of the release fee will vary depending on how much time time your dog has been at the kennels.
How to prevent your dog from straying
Be a responsible dog owner.
Dogs should always be walked and exercised with a responsible person present. Never allow your dog to wander, roam or exercise on its own.
Legally, all dogs must wear a collar and identification tag with contact details.
All dogs must be microchipped and your contact details must be kept up to date. For more information see microchipping.