If you find a stray dog and can’t contact the owner, you can report it to the council.

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What you need to know

  • Available in England and Wales only

Keeping a stray dog

You can keep a stray dog in your home while you try to contact the owner or your local council.

You might be able to adopt the dog if its original owner isn’t traced or they don’t claim the dog within 7 days.

Tell your council if you want to adopt the dog - they’ll probably check if you’re suitable as a dog owner before you can adopt it.

Even if you adopt the dog, the legal ownership of the dog is never transferred to you.

This means that the original owner could claim their dog back at any time, even if you’ve had the dog for several months or years.

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