Stray and unwanted dogs

The most likely reasons for dogs straying and having no homes appear to be:

  • Dogs are bought as presents for people who are not fully committed dog owners
  • Parents buy their children a puppy but the child soon loses interest and the parents do not want the responsibility for looking after it
  • A particular breed is bought without prior research into its characteristics. Care problems arise when the dog becomes too much of a handful and is abandoned
  • Dogs develop incurable behaviour problems. But in reality most behavioural problems can be overcome
  • Dogs are not fitted with any means of identification so they cannot be traced back to their owners
  • Dogs are not neutered which leads to unwanted puppies which are then abandoned

What Becomes of a Stray or Unwanted Dog

The first thing a Dog Warden will do if he finds a stray dog is to try to identify its owner. If the dog is wearing an identity tag or is microchipped, this is not a problem, but unfortunately, most dogs picked up by the council do not wear identification. Should the owner be identifiable then the Dog Warden will try to return the dog directly to the owner. If you believe your dog has been lifted by our Wardens you should contact the office on 02830313100.

The Council Dog Warden Service takes unidentified dogs to our kennels at Corran Kennels and Re-homing Centre, 40 Tobercorran Rd Downpatrick BT30 8HU. Stray dogs will be kept for at least 5 days to allow them to be reclaimed. Most people think of a stray dog as one without a home. This is not the case. The Dogs (NI) Order 1983 describes a stray dog as any dog that is not on its owner’s property and not accompanied by any person. The Dog Warden can seize any straying dog and impound it until the owner can be traced.

In the first instance the owner will receive a warning in relation to ensuring the dog does not stray however on any subsequent occasions the owner may be liable to a fixed penalty fine of £75

For Dog Warden Charges Click here

Identification Is The Key


Get a licence for your dog and make sure that it always wears its licence tag with the unique number on its collar.


Ensure your dog has an identification tag as well as its licence disc on its collar. The tag should contain the owner’s name and telephone number. It is best to have a more permanent means of identification as well as tagging such as microchipping.


Microchipping is a veterinary procedure in which a small capsule, the size of a grain of rice, is injected under the dogs skin. The chip contains a unique reference number that can be linked to a computer database containing the owners contact details. Newry and Mourne District Council scans all dogs that are brought into its kennels and would strongly advocate microchipping as an additional means of identification.