Stray dogs

What is classed as a stray?

If a dog is allowed out in a public place and is not under the handler's direct control, i.e. on a lead or under the close control of the handler, it is classed as a stray and could be collected by the Council's Collection Service.

Please look after your dog carefully, you should not let it out, even if it is only for a short time. A stray dog can be a danger to itself and others and risks collection by the Council's Collection Service. Persistent offenders also risk increased reclamation fees and/or prosecution. 

How to report a stray dog

You can report a stray dog by using the Stray Dog online form or by calling the Council on 01695 577177.

As we work together with Leigh Dogs & Cats Home, our current hours for this service are:

Mon, Tues, Thur, Fri - 9.00 to 4.00

Weds & Sat - 9.00 to 2.00

Sun – Closed

If you are reporting a dog outside of these hours, please see further information below.

Please note the Council can only deal with dogs that are straying within West Lancashire. If you have found a stray dog in a different area you will need to contact the correct local authority:

Should you find a stray dog, by law this must be reported to the Council.

Please provide as much information as possible to help the Council's Collection Service, such as:

  • Location of the dog 
  • Description of the dog - breed, size and colour 
  • Date and time when the dog was seen 
  • Was the dog injured or in danger e.g. roaming near a busy road 
  • Was the dog showing any signs of aggression 
  • Any information regarding the dog's owner 

If you are unable to provide this information, it will reduce our chances of finding the dog, and we will endeavour to find the animal as part of our routine patrols.

What happens to stray and lost dogs?

Stray dogs found within the borough are taken to Leigh Dogs and Cats Home (external link), where they are cared for until they can be reunited with their owners. The Council is obliged to keep all stray dogs for a maximum of seven days. If any dog is not claimed within the seven day period, then the dog can be re-homed.

We will only collect dogs from within West Lancashire. If you take a dog outside the area, we may not collect it and you may need to take it to the kennels yourself.

Leigh Dogs and Cats Home is located at Graveoak, East Lancashire Road, Leigh, Lancashire WN7 3SE. Tel: 01942 671215.

Please note that a charge is made to all owners/keepers for the return of their dog from the kennels. If a dog is collected within the first 24 hours there will be a charge of £55.  After that the fee will increase each day to a maximum of £100.

Out of hours stray dogs

The Council has teamed up with Leigh Dogs and Cats Home to provide an out of office hours service so anyone who has found and holds a stray dog can call the Council’s main switchboard on 01695 577177 to arrange collection. Alternatively, Leigh Dogs and Cats Home can be contacted directly on 07786 118088.

Calls can be received up to 9.00pm in the evening on weekdays and between 8.00am-8.00pm at weekends and Bank Holidays (excluding Christmas Day and New Years Day).

This means that anyone who finds a stray dog can contact the Council, who will then arrange for the dog to be collected directly from the finder. This service aims to respond to every case within an hour, but the finder must remain with the stray dog.

Dogs collected out of hours are taken to Leigh Dogs and Cats Home for the statutory seven day period.


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