The ‘reporting’ dilemma …

Sadly the number of reunited stories I come across are far outweighed by the number of dogs registered lost or stolen on the DogLost website every day so when I’m told that a dog has been reunited with owners, especially 4 years later, it is a lovely feeling.

Depending on how the dog was found, the chances are we will never know what happened between the date they were registered as lost/stolen and the day that they are found and reunited with their family but I was interested to read some of the replies to a recent reunited post on Twitter.

Whilst the majority of the responses were welcoming ‘Bob’ home, there were a few suggesting that whoever had had “Bob” might be missing him as he’d clearly been looked after and it would be nice to reunite them, which I was quite surprised to read.

To be fair, the majority of reunited cases I’ve been informed of don’t involve dogs that have been well looked after, sadly the stories I receive, the dogs have most likely been used to over-breed from.

So it made me think whether it’s widely known that it is actually a legal requirement to report a found or loose dog to a local Dog Warden and if you don’t have one, then your local council will let you know what the correct procedure is.

Whilst I understand that the finder might be worried that reporting a dog might result in the dog being taken into the local ‘dog pound’ and potentially put to sleep, it’s important to consider the following.

  • The dog might be lost and the family are desperately searching for them.
  • The dog might have been stolen and either escaped or been dumped and again there might me a family searching for them.
  • The only safe way to reunite a dog with the real owners, is to check for a microchip. I’ve seen so many cases of people trying to do the right thing and they ‘advertise’ a found dog on social media, sadly opening themselves up to opportunists who will claim the dog as theirs when in fact it isn’t.
  • If you find a dog and it doesn’t have a microchip you are allowed to request to look after the dog instead of it being taken. The holding period in these cases is 28 days. I believe that under the 28 day rule an owner can come forward at anytime to reclaim the dog, even years down the line.
  • If you find a dog and it is taken to be held for the statutory 7 days, then there are “pound pulling” rescues like Pawprints Dog Rescue in Rugby who work with local holdings kennels and ensure they are collected on day 8 and placed in to safe rescue/rehoming kennels. However, not all operate this way so it’s always worth asking the dog warden what will happen if the dog isn’t claimed.

You can also take the dog to any veterinary practice and ask them to scan for a chip. They will report a found chip to the relevant microchip company and you may be part of an amazing reunited story, if no chip is found they will know the correct process for reporting the dog.

The reason for this blog is because I find myself worrying about what would happen if one of my little guys managed to get out (goodness forbid), was found and the person thought he was a stray and kept him; it really doesn’t bear thinking about and that’s why ensuring a dog is scanned by either a dog warden or a vet must be a finders first step.