Stray dogs can be a danger, not just to themselves but to the public and road users. The law states that if we find a dog straying in a public place we can seize it and take it to our designated kennels.
If you find a stray dog you have a legal duty to report it to the dog warden service straight away. If you don't you could be prosecuted.
If a dog is dangerously out of control in a public place or causing a traffic hazard you should contact South Yorkshire Police.
If you own an XL Bully type dog, please read our advice about preparing for the ban of this breed.
Advice to owners of XL Bully type dogs
How do I know if my dog is an XL Bully type dog?
You can use the official definition of an XL Bully to check if your dog falls within this. It involves checking the dog's physical appearance and characteristics, including its size and height.
If you carry out these checks and are unsure, you should comply with the requirements.
What does the legislation mean for me?
If you own an XL Bully type dog, you do not necessarily have to get rid of the dog, but there are some things you must do.
To keep the dog you must:
- Obtain third party public liability insurance. Dogs Trust may be able to offer this, currently at £25 per year.
- Ensure your dog is microchipped, as already required by law.
- Neuter your dog or obtain proof from a vet that your dog is already neutered.
- Agree to keep the dog on a lead and always muzzled when in public.
- Ensure you can keep the dog secure at all times so it can't escape.
- Agree to keep the dog at one address only (other than for up to 30 days per year).
- Apply for a Certificate of Exemption to keep an XL Bully before 31 January 2024. This costs £92.40 per dog.
What can't I do if I choose to keep my dog?
From 31 December 2023 you'll break the law if you:
- Sell or give away an XL Bully type dog.
- Abandon an XL Bully type dog.
- Let an XL Bully type dog stray.
- Breed from an XL Bully type dog.
- Have an XL Bully type dog in a public place without a lead and muzzle. This includes in a vehicle on a public road.
From 1 February 2024 you'll break the law if you:
- Own an XL Bully type dog, unless you have a valid Certificate of Exemption. You should be able to produce this to a police officer or dog warden.
What if I don't want to keep my dog?
You should make your own arrangements with a vet for your dog to be put to sleep by 31 January 2024. The cost of having the dog humanely put to sleep is your responsibility. A government compensation scheme will be available for a short time.
You may find the following useful if you choose to keep an XL Bully type dog:
Reporting a stray or lost dog
If you find a stray dog that's not wearing a collar and ID tag which would allow you to reunite it with it's owner, you can use our online form below to report it.
If you've lost your own dog you can use the same form to tell us about it. Someone may find your dog and report it to us and we'll be able to let you know if we've picked your dog up and how you can get it back.
If you catch a stray dog and our offices are closed you can either look after the dog yourself until we can collect it, or call 07376 353678 (from 5pm until 9pm weekdays, and 9am to 9pm on weekends) and we'll tell you where you can take it.
If the dog is injured please contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
What happens next
We'll pick up the stray and take it to our kennels where we'll keep it for seven days, unless the owner comes forward to reclaim it.
If no-one claims the dog after seven days, we'll try to find it a new home or send it to a dog rescue charity.
We'll only put a dog to sleep as a last resort.