Center for Animal Welfare Legal Protection    
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Autonomous non-profit organization
Center for Animal Welfare Legal Protection

Legislation on stray dogs in the U.K.



Official information on the principles of dealing with neglected/stray dogs.

Official site of Liverpool City municipality
(http://www.liverpool.gov.uk/Environment/Animal_welfare/index.asp)
(extracts)

Stray Dogs
      The Public Health Services Unit has three dedicated Animal Wardens who patrol the city's parks and streets in search of stray dogs. Any dog found on the Public Highway, or any of the Council's parks without an owner will be collected as a stray. If the dog has a collar with the owner's name and address on, the Animal Warden will attempt to return the dog to it's owner.
      If there is no identification on the dog or the wardens are unable to return the dog to its owner, the dog will be taken to the RSPCA kennels in Halewood where it will be held for seven days. If the owner claims the dog within seven days the dog will be returned after paying a kennelling fee (as at 29 October 2004, 55.00).
      If after seven days no owner has claimed the dog, then it becomes the property of the RSPCA who may take the decision to have the dog re-homed or put to sleep.



"Environmental Protection Act, 1990"
(extracts)
Government site
(http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1990/Ukpga_19900043_en_9.htm#mdiv151)

Control of Dogs
Seizure of stray dogs       149.-(1) Every local authority shall appoint an officer (under whatever title the authority may determine) for the purpose of discharging the functions imposed or conferred by this section for dealing with stray dogs found in the area of the authority.
      (2) The officer may delegate the discharge of his functions to another person but he shall remain responsible for securing that the functions are properly discharged.
      (3) Where the officer has reason to believe that any dog found in a public place or on any other land or premises is a stray dog, he shall (if practicable) seize the dog and detain it, but, where he finds it on land or premises which is not a public place, only with the consent of the owner or occupier of the land or premises.
      (4) Where any dog seized under this section wears a collar having inscribed thereon or attached thereto the address of any person, or the owner of the dog is known, the officer shall serve on the person whose address is given on the collar, or on the owner, a notice in writing stating that the dog has been seized and where it is being kept and stating that the dog will be liable to be disposed of if it is not claimed within seven clear days after the service of the notice and the amounts for which he would be liable under subsection (5) below are not paid.
      (5) A person claiming to be the owner of a dog seized under this section shall not be entitled to have the dog returned to him unless he pays all the expenses incurred by reason of its detention and such further amount as is for the time being prescribed.
      (6) Where any dog seized under this section has been detained for seven clear days after the seizure or, where a notice has been served under subsection (4) above, the service of the notice and the owner has not claimed the dog and paid the amounts due under subsection (5) above the officer may dispose of the dog             (a) by selling it or giving it to a person who will, in his opinion, care properly for the dog;
            (b) by selling it or giving it to an establishment for the reception of stray dogs; or
            (c) by destroying it in a manner to cause as little pain as possible;
but no dog seized under this section shall be sold or given for the purposes of vivisection.
      (7) Where a dog is disposed of under subsection (6)(a) or (b) above to a person acting in good faith, the ownership of the dog shall be vested in the recipient.
      (8) The officer shall keep a register containing the prescribed particulars of or relating to dogs seized under this section and the register shall be available, at all reasonable times, for inspection by the public free of charge.
      (9) The officer shall cause any dog detained under this section to be properly fed and maintained.
      (10) Notwithstanding anything in this section, the officer may cause a dog detained under this section to be destroyed before the expiration of the period mentioned in subsection (6) above where he is of the opinion that this should be done to avoid suffering.
      (11) In this section:
            "local authority", in relation to England and Wales, means a district council, a London borough council, the Common Council of the City of London or the Council of the Isles of Scilly and, in relation to Scotland, means an islands or district council;
            "officer" means an officer appointed under subsection (1) above;
            "prescribed" means prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State; and
            "public place" means:
                   (i) as respects England and Wales, any highway and any other place to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access;
                   (ii) as respects Scotland, any road (within the meaning of the [1984 c. 54.] Roads (Scotland) Act 1984) and any other place to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access;
      and, for the purposes of section 160 below in its application to this section, the proper address of the owner of a dog which wears a collar includes the address given on the collar.
Delivery of stray dogs to police or local authority officer       150.-(1) Any person (in this section referred to as "the finder" ) who takes possession of a stray dog shall forthwith either:
      (a) return the dog to its owner; or
      (b) take the dog:
            (i) to the officer of the local authority for the area in which the dog was found; or
            (ii) to the police station which is nearest to the place where the dog was found;
      and shall inform the officer of the local authority or the police officer in charge of the police station, as the case may be, where the dog was found.




1992 No. 901
DOGS
CONTROL OF DOGS
"The Control of Dogs Order, 1992".
(Made 19th March 1992,
Coming into force 1st April 1992)
(extracts)
Government site
(http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1992/Uksi_19920901_en_1.htm#tfnf001)

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in relation to England, the Secretary of State for Scotland in relation to Scotland, and the Secretary of State for Wales in relation to Wales, in exercise of the powers conferred on them by sections 13(2) and (3) and 72 of the Animal Health Act 1981[1] and of all other powers enabling them in that behalf, hereby make the following Order:
Title and commencement
      1. This Order may be cited as the Control of Dogs Order 1992 and shall come into force on 1st April 1992.
Wearing of collars by dogs
      2.-(1) Subject to paragraph (2) below, every dog while in a highway or in a place of public resort shall wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or on a plate or badge attached to it.

      (2) Paragraph (1) above shall not apply to
            (a) any pack of hounds,
            (b) any dog while being used for sporting purposes,
            (c) any dog while being used for the capture or destruction of vermin,
            (d) any dog while being used for the driving or tending of cattle or sheep,
            (e) any dog while being used on official duties by a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces or Her Majesty's Customs and Excise or the police force for any area,
            (f) any dog while being used in emergency rescue work, or
            (g) any dog registered with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

Offences
      3. The owner of a dog or the person in charge of a dog who, without lawful authority or excuse, proof of which shall lie on him, causes or permits the dog to be in a highway or in a place of public resort not wearing a collar as prescribed in article 2(1) above shall be guilty of an offence against the Animal Health Act 1981.
Seizure of dogs
      4. Any dog in respect of which an offence is being committed against this Order may be seized and treated as a stray dog under section 3 of the Dogs Act 1906[2] or under section 149 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Enforcement
      5.(1) This Order shall be executed and enforced by the officers of a local authority (and not by the police force for any area).
      (2) In this article "local authority" and "officer" have the same meaning as in section 149 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.



Recommendations for pet owners in the context of the two aforesaid legislative acts
(extracts)
Municipal site of one of the areas
(http://www.pendle.gov.uk/site/scripts/services_info.php?serviceID=501)

Any dog found wandering in a public place alone is classed as a stray and will be dealt with by the Dog Warden under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Q: When is a dog considered to be a stray?
Answer: When it is in a public area or on another person's land without permission, and does not have a responsible person with it at the time.

Q: Can the Council deal with a stray dog?
Answer: Yes. The Council is empowered to seize and impound stray dogs.

Q: What happens to dogs that are not reclaimed?
Answer: We prefer to re-home unclaimed dogs, however, if this is not possible, dogs are put to sleep.

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