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Dog Straying

The law defines a stray as a dog which is in a public place and not under the charge of a keeper. This means that any dog out with its own property/garden unattended is classed as a stray. An authorised officer has the right to uplift any animal he suspects is a stray under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Please note that the level of service for collecting stray dogs provided by West Lothian Council is restricted. Please see below for further information. If an officer is not available to respond then members of the public can take any stray dog to the nearest Police Station. The Police are required to take the dog if it is brought to them, however they are not required to collect dogs from other locations.

For general enquiries, please see the related web pages, which provide a wide range of animal welfare information.

Why are stray dogs a problem?

Stray dogs can cause problems as they:

  • may cause injury to themselves
  • may act aggressively towards members of the public and/ or other dogs
  • may cause road accidents
  • may worry livestock
  • may foul public places or other people's property.

What should you do if you find a stray dog? 

Stray dog
If you see a stray dog you should contact Environmental Health (Monday - Friday 9am to 3pm). Out with these hours contact your local police station (opens new window). Please note that on occasion our officers may be unavailable in which case you have the option to  take the dog to the nearest staffed police station. (Police Scotland has no duty to collect stray dogs, but must accept any handed in at a police station).

My dog has been uplifted - how can I claim it back?

By law, stray dogs which have been taken to the kennels will be available for owners to reclaim for 7 days. After this time the dog becomes the property of the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home. The charge for allowing your dog to stray is £25 plus £12.50 per day kennelling (from 1st October 2018). This amount is payable at the time you collect the dog.

Under certain circumstances, your dog may be returned directly to you by the Animal Welfare Officer. In these cases, dog owners are liable to pay the £25 fee, which will be sent as an invoice to your address.

All Stray dogs picked up by our officers or Police in West Lothian are held, on their behalf, by The Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home until they are either reunited or become the property of Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home.

It can be contacted at:

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home
26, Seafield Road East
EH15 1EH
Tel: 0131 669 5331 (opens new window)

In order to prevent fraudulent claims, dogs will only be handed over to owners with proof of identification such as drivers license, passport, or credit card.

I have lost my dog, how can I find it?

Contact Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home on the details above. All dogs uplifted in West Lothian go there so by registering your details they too can contact you if your dog is handed in.

You should also contact your local police station and report your lost dog to them, as police officers can also uplift stray dogs.

If you have Social Media then it is recommended you post an appeal to some of the lost and found pets pages that can be found in and around West Lothian. This is an effective way of getting your dog's picture out into the public eye and get any witnesses to come forward.

Contact the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999 and if after a few days if your dog is still missing you may wish to contact NETs, Land & Countryside Services in case your dog has been involved in a road traffic accident.

If you do find your dog, please inform any service you have reported it missing to.