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Stray, lost and dangerous dogs

Stray dogs​

A dog is a stray if:

  • it is found in a place where it should not be, and
  • appears to be without its owner, and
  • appears not to be under the control of its owner or a person representing them.

Merton Council is responsible for dealing with stray dogs that are not dangerous.

Dangerous dogs

A dog is classified as dangerous if it injures someone, or if someone is in fear of being injured. If you have concerns about a dog being dangerous in a public place, whether or not you believe it is a stray dog, you should contact the police.

Metropolitan Police website 

Reporting a stray dog

If the dog is not dangerous, please catch it and stop it from running away. If you can identify its owner from a collar tag or microchip, then please contact them directly. If you cannot find out who the owner is then report it to

Noah's Ark: 0333-5775070 - Monday-Friday 9am-5pm,
Out of hours:  08444-996063 

We only deal with dogs found in the London Borough of Merton. If you find a dog somewhere else, but live in Merton, you should phone the dog warden for the area in which the dog was found.

Lost dogs

If your dog is lost you should report it immediately to us (contact details below). We will check our records of stray dogs seized.

You can also contact the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home Lost Dogs and Cats Line.

  • Consider preparing a simple poster with a photograph of your dog on it and ask local vets and shops if you can display it or leaflet the local houses.
  • Consider putting an advertisement in the local newspapers.
  • Talk to and inform people, especially neighbours and other dog owners.
  • If you give out a phone number, make sure somebody can answer as it may be news of your dog.
  • Walk around the local area, and check places you normally walk your dog.

Please note posters should not be displayed on lamp columns or other highway furniture such as bollards - this is fly posting and illegal.

Identification tags

By law, your dog must wear a collar when out in a public place, and the collar or tag must have your name and address (including postcode) engraved or written on it. This applies even if the dog is chipped or tattooed. If you break this law you can be fined up to £5,000. 


If we collect a stray dog and impound it, or return it to its owner, the owner must pay a charge. The minimum charge is currently £145.00. You will be recharged for any costs incurred, these may include:

  • vet fees
  • a pick up fee if collected by the council or its representatives
  • a reuniting fee for returning the dog
  • and any kennelling fees.

Stolen dogs

If you think your dog has been stolen you should report it to the police and obtain a crime number. Also report the theft to us, and we will give advice on any further action you may take.