The following articles are designed to help you in case you are in need of advice whether it is about a missing dog or cat, or if you have found an animal and want to know what the best course of action is.
Found a stray dog?
A dog should not be allowed to roam the streets unaccompanied. If a dog appears to be straying, and seems friendly, you can check to see if it is wearing an identity disc, and if so, contact the owner. If the owner cannot be found, you should contact your local Council Dog Warden. YOU SHOULD NOT APPROACH A STRAY DOG IF IT SEEMS AT ALL AGGRESSIVE. If the dog seems sick or injured, you can contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234999 for advice.
Please note, it is a criminal offence if you keep a stray dog and do not inform the Local Council
If you find a stray dog in the Durham Unitary Authority area, please ring Streetscene on 03000 261000
Stray dogs in County Durham are taken to either Stray Aid Rescue Centre, Cornforth Lane, Coxhoe, Co. Durham DH6 4EJ. 0300 999 4247 or Deerness Kennels, Mill Road, Langley Moor, Durham DH7 8HF 0191 3780439 . They are kennelled for a minimum of seven days, and if they are not claimed within this time, they will be made available for rehoming. Stray Aid will not put a rehomeable dog to sleep
Found a cat?
Cats will often wander quite far from home on a regular basis, perfectly safely. If the cat seems well-fed and healthy, do not encourage it to keep coming back by putting food out for it or stroking it. Rescue charities receive many calls from people who are quick to assume the cat is a stray, and are criticised for removing such "stray cats" that are later found to have been owned cats and just roaming, often some considerable distance from home.
If a cat is visiting your property, but causing you a problem, in the first instance ask around the neighbourhood to see if anyone knows who the cat belongs to. If it is friendly and appears tame and healthy, you should try to put a paper collar on the cat to ask its owner to ring you to discuss the problem. Approach the cat cautiously and carefully, as he may lash out. Remember that your own safety and that of the cat are of great importance. If the cat is wearing a collar with a name tag on it and appears lost, please contact the owners.
You may wish to take the cat to a vet to check for a chip, please only do this if you feel it is safe. You may encounter problems getting a stray cat into a basket.
If it seems unwell or thin and hungry, and has no means of identification, please contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234999 and they will advise you on what steps to take. You can ring the Durham and District RSPCA on 01388 730248, or contact the Durham and District branch of the Cats Protection League on 01388 720689, or ring the Cats Protection Helpline on 03000 121212 for further advice. Unfortunately there are many cases where the cat has been abandoned and no owner will come forward. If this happens, the RSPCA or Cats Protection League adoption centres will be able to give you advice on how to look after the cat.
Feral cats are wild animals and should not be approached, and these cats are able to look after themselves. Leaving them alone may well be the best option, as councils especially see them as vermin.
One of the best qualities about our dogs is that they are playful and adventurous. However, this personality trait can sometimes get our pooch's into trouble and some have been known to stray from their owner and get lost in the process. Retractable dog leads from Pets at Home are a great place to start to ensure that your canine doesn’t wander too far afield and out of sight. In addition, retractable leads give your dog more freedom to roam about on his walk with you, compared to traditional fixed-line leads. This is the perfect compromise between your dog’s desire to explore and your desire to keep him safe.
If you tend to let your pooch wander around the garden, you might want to regularly check any fences that keep him secure for any holes, broken boards or gaps where he could wriggle his way through. If your gate lock is prone to accidentally coming undone, allowing the gate to open, be sure to invest in an additional latch that will prevent this from happening.
If your hound jumps at any opportunity to escape through the door of your home as you enter, it is a good idea to install a baby gate in the foyer to prevent him from doing so. This has the added benefit of removing any hassle you may experience trying to neutralise his behaviour.
If you take your pooch to an open, fenced area where he can run and play, be sure to check that there are no holes or gaps in it before you let him off the leash. Under no circumstances let him off the leash if there is any chance of him escaping.
In the unfortunate event that your canine does escape, if he is wearing a dog collar with your name, address and contact details on it, this will make it much easier to find him. As soon as you purchase your dog, be sure to take some photographs of him, both close-up and of his full body, as these can be used in a search campaign if this is ever required.