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If you find an injured or sick animal, you can phone a local vet who will be able to provide advice.

If you wish to catch and transport the animal, a vet will also be able to advise you how to do this safely. See the link in Related Information to find a local vet.

For larger injured wildlife, phone the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and do not try to catch the animal yourself.

The following animals cannot be handled or transported by the public:

  • an injured deer
  • seal
  • wild boar
  • otter
  • badger
  • fox
  • snake
  • bird of prey (including owls)
  • swan
  • goose
  • heron
  • gull


You should speak to your neighbour about the problem as they may not be aware that it is happening.

Unless there is any evidence of the dog being mistreated then the RSPCA will not be able to help. If you do believe that the dog is being mistreated, you can contact the RSPCA via their telephone number 0300 1234 999.

The noise could be classed as a noise nuisance so you would need to report it to the Environmental Health department at your local authority.

Please see the website in Related Information to report a noise complaint to your local authority.


It is not advisable to force entry to the vehicle yourself straight away. Depending on the level of distress, your first step should be to call the police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

If the police don't have time to get there, then you have to decide if you should take action by forcing entry. Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do, why and, where possible, take images/footage of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if:

'at the time you believed that the person whom you believe to be entitled to consent to the destruction of or damage to the property in question . . . .would consent to it if s/he . . . had known of the destruction or damage and its circumstances' (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).
(this legal reference is slightly modified for clarity)

Do not do this without fully assessing the situation, and being prepared to defend your actions in court, in the event of any legal action being taken against you.

The RSPCA can offer guidance on information on cruelty via their cruelty line at any time on 0300 1234 999. See further advice from the RSPCA on the website in related information.


There have been decisions in the past by courts and authorities to suggest that it is the nature of a dog to kill and wound small animals. As such, unfortunately there is no certainty that the police could take action, in the event of your pet being killed or wounded by a dog.

The police will however take action if the dog was dangerously out of control (see Q653 for more information on this).

If the police cannot take action under the circumstances, the other viable alternative is to pursue civil proceedings against the dog owner. In this event, we would recommend contacting the Citizens Advice for further guidance on this process.

This answer does not take into account deliberate attacks or dog fights which are separate offences.


Here are some of our top tips to help find your lost dog:

    • You should phone the database that your dog's microchip is registered with and report them missing.
    • Contact your local dog warden service, details of which can be found in Related Information.
    • Notify your local vets of the situation regarding your lost dog.
    • Visit places where you regularly take your dog for walks.
    • Posting on social media that your dog is missing can be a very effective way of alerting family and friends that are close by.

Please see the websites in Related Information for more help and advice.


The police no longer have responsibility for stray dogs.

If you have found a healthy looking dog you should try to contact the owner. If it is safe, you should check whether the dog is wearing a tag or contact a local vet to scan the dog for a microchip.

If you are unable to locate or find the owner you should contact your local authority and ask to speak with the local dog warden. The dog warden has a responsibility to collect all stray dogs that are found in a public place. The website outlined in Related Information will help you contact your local authority. The RSPCA will not collect healthy stray dogs unless it is in danger, sick or injured. If so, please contact the RSPCA's 24 hour a day cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.


The police no longer have responsibility for stray dogs.

If you cannot locate or contact the owner, you should contact your local authority and ask to speak with the local dog warden. The dog warden has a responsibility to collect all stray dogs that are found in a public place.

The RSPCA will not go out and collect healthy stray dogs, unless you have found a stray that is in danger, sick or injured. If so, please contact the RSPCA's 24 hour a day cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

See the website in Related Information to find your local authority and more information from the RSPCA.


Dogs have better hearing than humans do and for them fireworks are extremely loud and scary.

Keep the animal indoors, close the windows and have the TV on or music playing to muffle the sound of the fireworks.

There are some products that vets may be able to offer to help keep your dog calm.

If at all possible try and make sure someone is at home with the animal as it will be comforting to have a familiar face around.

Dogs can also benefit from having a safe space in the house where they can hide. A crate covered with a blanket for example can help with settling a nervous dog.


If the bite has broken the skin, you should clean the wound immediately by running warm tap water over it for a couple of minutes. You should then seek immediate medical attention (further information on treating animal bites can be found in the related information). After seeking medical attention, you should report the incident to your local police.

It is an offence to have a dog dangerously out of control (see Q653 for further information). The dog owner (or the person for the time being in charge of the dog) may be prosecuted and could face imprisonment and/or a fine. In addition the courts can make a variety of orders in relation to the dog, which range from muzzling to destruction.


If the bite has broken the skin, you should clean the wound immediately by running warm tap water over it for a couple of minutes. You should then seek immediate medical attention (further information on treating animal bites can be found in Related Information).

If you are attacked by a dog or are in fear of being attacked whilst on a property, and the person in charge had no proper control of it then the dog could be said to be dangerously out of control. Q653 provides further information on this.

You need to report the incident to the police who will carry out an investigation. The courts have the power to order that the dog is kept under proper control by enforcing the owner to take reasonable measures such as muzzling or neutering, or in certain cases they may be destroyed.


If you have reason to suspect cruelty to an animal is taking place, then contact the RSPCA's 24 hour a day cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
It is important to have ready the following details -

• a description of the animal(s) involved
• the exact location of the animal(s)
• the names and addresses of any other witnesses
• the registration number of any vehicle involved, and the name and address of the suspect(s) if known.

The police also have powers to deal with cruelty to animals but the RSPCA are the experts in the field and are better equipped to deal with it.


It is an offence not to clean up after a dog that has fouled. However, it is the responsibility of the local authority although some PSCOs can deal with this offence. The maximum fine for this offence is £2500 or alternatively councils can issue a fixed penalty notice.

If you know someone who fails to clean up after their dog, you should make a note of the time and date of the offence, the details of the dog owner and then contact your local authority who will advise you how to proceed.

See the website in Related Information to find your local authority in order to report dog fouling.


No, the police do not have the resources to run courses for dog owners.

The RSPCA do have online training tips for training your dog (see Related Information) and advise that when looking for a dog trainer they are accredited by The Association of Pet Dog Trainers to ensure they have the appropriate knowledge and skills. The link under the Related Information tab allows you to search for accredited dog trainers in your area.


Unfortunately most police forces do not provide this service as standard and if they did it may just be for a special event or occasion.
However any requests can be made via local policing teams or schools that have dedicated police officers or PCSOs.


There are two types of police dogs in service, a general-purpose dog and a drug detection dog.

The general-purpose dogs are mainly German Shepherds and some Belgian Shepherds with the drug detection dogs being mainly Springer Spaniels. There are also explosives dogs, which are Border Collies and Spaniels. The best age for offering a dog is between 12 months and 24 months.

Other breeds of dogs are used for other purposes and it is advisable to contact the Dog Unit at your local police force for more details.


You must be a police officer and have two years of service in the police in order to apply to become a dog handler. Your home is checked to see if it is suitable for a police dog, namely off road parking and enough space in the garden to house two kennels. You will then have to successfully complete a suitability course to determine whether you could handle a police dog.

The role of dog trainer within police forces has recently opened to non-police officers in some police forces. However, for the present time the majority of the trainers will be police officers. To become a dog trainer for the police service you must have considerable experience in training working dogs and possess either the Home Office Instructors certificate or the ability to gain the certificate. You would ideally possess some type of teaching certificate and have a proven record of teaching.

For more information on becoming a dog trainer, please contact your local police force.


Some animals are not included in the definition of 'animal' given in the legislation, so you are not required to report accidents with them to the police.

A dog (as well as a goat, horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep and pig) are animals covered within the remit of the legislation; therefore, you are required by law to report any accident with these animals to the police.

However, if the animal you have hit is not listed above it may still be worth contacting the police to inform them of the incident. Additionally, the local authority will need to be contacted to remove the remains of the animal. Please see the website in Related Information to find your local authority.

Important: badgers are specially protected, it is an offence to possess one, dead or alive, (without the proper authority), so if you kill one, leave it at the roadside. If you are concerned, as stated above, you can voluntarily contact the police.


It is an offence for a dog to be dangerously out of control in any place, including private property.

All the circumstances will be considered and each decision will be judged individually. For example, if you deliberately set your dog onto the intruder and they suffer injury, you may be liable for prosecution and the dog ordered to be kept under control.

However, if you are not at home and your dog attacks an intruder, it is unlikely that you would be liable for the attack. This defence only applies in your home and not other premises or land i.e. if a person (intruder of otherwise) enters your garden and is bitten by your dog, you may be liable.

Q653 provides more information on dangerous dogs.


Under the Dangerous Dogs Act, it is illegal to own certain types of dog. These are - a pit bull terrier type, an XL Bully type, a Japanese Tosa type, Dogo Argentino type and a Fila Braziliero type. Whether a dog is banned depends on its appearance rather than its breed or name.

For example, if you owned a dog that had many characteristics of a Pit Bull Terrier, it may be a banned type. It is also against the law to sell, abandon, give away or breed from a banned dog.

The police, with the permission of a court, may seize a banned dog even if a complaint hasn't been made and the dog isn't acting dangerously. If a banned type of dog is in:

•    a public place the police don't need a warrant to seize it
•    a private place, the police must get a warrant to seize it
•    a private place and the police have a warrant for something else (like a drugs search), they can seize it

When a banned dog is seized, a police dog expert will then judge what type of dog you have and whether it is, or could be, a danger to the public. Depending on their decision your dog will either be released or kept in kennels before the case goes to court. If it goes to court, you cannot visit your dog until a decision has been made.

If it does go to court, it will  be your responsibility to prove your dog is not a banned type. If you are successful, your dog will be released to you. If you are not, you will be found guilty of owning a banned type of dog. You can choose to give up ownership of your dog but you can’t be forced.  Should you choose to give up ownership of your dog, the would mean it could be destroyed before even going to court.

If the courts do not consider a banned type to be a danger to the public, you may be allowed to keep it. You will be given a Certificate of Exemption and your dog must be:

•    neutered
•    microchipped
•    kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public
•    kept in a secure place so it can't escape

As an owner of a banned type of dog with a Certificate of Exemption, you must:

•    take out insurance against your dog injuring other people
•    be aged over 16
•    show the Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or council dog warden, either at the time or within 5 days
•    let the Index of Exempted Dogs know if you change your address, or your dog dies.


You can contact your local police (via 101) or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and report the information to them. Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 deals with offences of possession and breeding of dogs bred for fighting such as a Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa and other types of dogs designated by order. Q651 gives more detail on the types of dogs that are illegal to own in the UK.

The police will make any necessary enquiries to identify the type of dog and take appropriate action. If you are concerned over the way a dog is being treated, you may want to make enquiries with the RSPCA who will be able to offer advice.


If a dog has attacked a person or animal, it is a police matter and you should contact them directly. Call 101 (or 999 in emergencies only).

If a dog poses an immediate threat to the safety of the public, the police or other responsible person (e.g. vet/local authority) can order that the dog be lawfully destroyed. It is a criminal offence for the person in charge of the dog to allow it to be 'dangerously out of control' anywhere in England and Wales, whether or not it is in a public place.

The following list explains when a dog may be considered dangerously out of control -

  • if it injures a person or an assistance dog, or
  • it causes a person to worry that it may injure them or an assistance dog, and the person in charge of the dog has no proper control of it.

The court could also decide that a dog is dangerously out of control if either of the following apply -

  • If it attacks another person's animal, or
  • the owner of an animal thinks that they could be injured trying to stop your dog attacking their animal.

If the dog has been established as dangerously out of control but does not pose an immediate threat to the public etc., the police and local authorities now have the power to act early to prevent dog attacks before they occur. These measures could include; attending dog training classes, repairing fencing to their property to prevent the dog from escaping or requiring the dog to be muzzled when out in public. See Q837 and Q835 for examples of orders the police can enforce.


Yes, the law states that every dog whilst on a highway or public place has to wear a collar with the name of the owner on it. Failure to do so is an offence and could lead to your dog being seized and dealt with as a stray dog. There are exemptions but these apply to working dogs and not to domestic pets.

This is generally not a police matter and is left to the local authority (dog warden) to enforce.

Please see the links in Related Information for what is legally required to be included on the tag attached to a dog’s collar.


Since 2016, dogs over 8 weeks old need to be microchipped by law.

The law means that:

• Any dog over 8 weeks old must be microchipped. Very small puppies or those with certain health problems can get a temporary exemption certificate from a vet, but still need to be microchipped when they are a bit bigger or healthier before it runs out .
• Owner details must be kept up-to-date and stored with an approved database company.
• Your dog must still wear a collar and tag with your contact details on when in public.
• If your dog is scanned by a dog warden and found not to have a microchip you'll have 21 days to get them microchipped. If you don't, you could face a fine of up to £500.

Please see 'related information' for links to relevant websites.

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