Stray Dogs – I Have Found a Stray


Multiple pieces of legislation apply to dog owners in Northern Ireland. This guide will help you understand your responsibilities, but it is not to be considered legal advice. The information below applies to Northern Ireland only. The rules may be different in the Republic of Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland.

I have found a stray dog:

It is important to try to contact the owner of a dog that appears to be a straying. Check their collar for details if it is safe to do so, or have its microchip checked by a vet.

If you cannot identify the owner, you can take care of the dog (by detaining it if necessary) while you contact either the local government district who will  arrange for the dog to be collected by a dog warden. Remember that the law treats dogs as property so you cannot just keep a stray without following the steps above. If you do so you might be charged with theft. The dog warden service will be able to provide further advice.


The Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 (as amended).

See also: Animal Welfare Leaflet.pdf (