Our duties include to seize stray dogs, inspect and licence animal establishments and promote responsible pet ownership within the borough.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Stray dogs

The Animal Welfare Service aim to help collect stray dogs and reunite them with their owners.

According to the law, a dog is straying if it is unsupervised in any public place or any private area without the owner's consent. If you allow your dog to stray, you may be fined.

To report a stray dog or missing dog, call us on 020 7926 8860. Our line is open Monday to Friday between 8am to 4pm.

During these hours we will try to collect the dog, where possible if the animal welfare officer is available. If we have collected your dog we will get in contact with you.

Outside of these hours, please call 020 7926 1000. We offer a reception point for stray dogs to be brought to us outside of our opening hours.

If you have lost your dog we need to know:

  • breed (if relevant)
  • the colour, size, sex and approximate age of the dog
  • if it had a collar with a tag
  • if it’s microchipped
  • when and where it was last seen
  • a contact telephone number for you.

You should also get in contact with Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in case your dog is already in their care.

2.  Tagging and microchipping

We collect over 250 stray dogs each year. Many have no form of identification which would allow us to trace the rightful owner.

Collar and ID tag

You are required by law to put an identification tag and collar on your dog when in a public place and should have your address and phone number on it. Failure to tag your dog could result in prosecution. Thousands of pets go missing every year and are not returned to their owners because they have no form of identification. Wearing an identification tag not only enables someone to return your dog easily but also prevents unnecessary stays overnight in kennels which can be traumatic for many pets and costly to the owner.

Micro chipping

Lost and stray dogs cost the taxpayer and welfare charities £33 million per year. A microchip makes it much easier to reunite a dog with its owner.

Microchipping will reduce the burden on animal charities and local authorities and help protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible dog ownership.

Under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 it will be compulsory for all dogs over the age of 8 weeks in England to be fitted with microchips from 6 April 2016.

Dogs will need to be microchipped and registered with their keepers’ contact details. All keepers, including breeders, must keep these details up to date. The only exemption from the requirement is where a vet has certified in writing that a dog is unfit to be microchipped.

Before the new requirements come into effect, pet owners or keepers can get their dogs microchipped free of charge in a number of places. Details of your nearest event/participating vet can be found here http://www.chipmydog.org.uk/have-your-dog-chipped-for-free/.

The microchip, which is the size of a grain of rice and completely harmless, is inserted in-between your dogs shoulder blades. The chip contains a unique registration number.

Once the new rules come into effect, if a dog without a microchip comes to the attention of the authorities, its keeper may be served with a notice requiring the dog to be microchipped, and may face criminal prosecution and a £500 fine if they do not comply with the notice.

Anyone breeding dogs will be responsible for microchipping their puppies before they sell or give them to new keepers. All imported dogs will need to have a microchip. Breeders will be required to register their own details and these will be recorded against the microchip for the life of the dog.

If a dog goes missing and is found by us, or taken to a vet or animal home, the chip will tell us the owner's details and the animal can be returned.

Do remember to keep your details up to date on the chip. Contact the chip registration service if your details change.

If you don't have your pet's microchip number, contact your vet or implanter who may have your chip number on record, or contact animalwelfare@lambeth.gov.uk and we will be able to visit your property and scan your pet to reveal the microchip number.

3. Owner's Duty of Care

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 introduced tougher penalties for neglect and cruelty, including fines of up to £20,000, a maximum jail term of 51 weeks and a lifetime ban on some owners keeping pets.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, five freedoms have to be given to pets in order to comply with the law:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst - provide fresh, clean water and the right amount of food to keep the animal fit and healthy.
  • Freedom from discomfort - animals should be protected from extreme weather conditions such as hot or cold temperatures, wind, rain and humidity. A suitable, clean, dry resting area should be available to animals at all times.
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease - animals should be inspected regularly to make sure they are well. Animals that appear to be ill, diseased or injured must be cared for without delay. If they do not respond to that care, professional advice must be
    sought without delay.
  • Freedom to behave normally - make sure the animals have enough space and proper facilities to display normal behaviour, including regular interaction with other animals where appropriate.
  • Freedom from fear and distress -make sure the conditions the animal lives and plays in and the treatment the animal receives avoids mental suffering.

Ban on docking tails, ear cropping, taking part in a dog fight or training a dog to fight.

If you are concerned for the welfare of a dog, you can contact us and we will endeavour to visit the address and assess the situation and act accordingly. Alternatively you can contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

Animal Welfare Service
Telephone: 020 7926 8860
Email: animalwelfare@lambeth.gov.uk

4. Dogs die in hot cars

In warm weather, cars become ovens. Temperatures could soar to 49ºC and higher.

Our advice is to to never leave animals inside their cars.

Dogs and other pets that are left in a hot car may suffer from heatstroke which could kill them. This could happen within 20 minutes of being left. Even leaving the windows open or providing water will not help.

Opening a window a little or leaving a bowl of water is simply not enough. The Council advises people to leave their dog at home and to make adequate arrangements for feeding and exercising.

If you leave your dog or pet inside a locked car you could be prosecuted.

If you see a dog that has been left inside a parked car on a hot day, contact the Police on 999 for assistance or RSPCA on 0300 1234999.

Signs of heatstroke

  • Excessive panting and salivation
  • Rapid pulse
  • Overly red or purple gums
  • Lack of coordination, inability to rise after collapsing
  • Vomiting / diarrhoea

Treating heatstroke

  • Call your veterinary surgeon for advice
  • Pour cool (not freezing cold) water over the dog
  • Provide small amounts of cool (not freezing cold) water

How to keep your dog cool in the sun

  • Never leave your dog alone in a car
  • Never leave your dog alone in a glass conservatory or caravan
  • Always ensure that a cooler, ventilated environment is available to your dog to move to if they are feeling hot
  • Dogs with light coloured nose or / and ears should have pet safe sunscreens applied to the areas to prevent sunburn

Find out more on the RSPCA website

5. Living with foxes

Lambeth Council, like other local authorities, does not control the population of foxes and discourages the killing of foxes. However, we do provide advice about how to deter foxes from resident's gardens.

Foxes are not classified as vermin by DEFRA, and they never have been, so local authorities have no legal obligation to act against them.

There are a few private pest control companies who offer such a service. However, within the fox world there is no such thing as a vacant territory. If you remove one fox another will take over the territory within weeks. Removal or destruction of foxes is, at best, expensive and at worst, an act of cruelty.

Fox populations are self regulating. They cannot over-populate, but will always breed back to replace numbers lost since the previous breeding season. Deterrence is cheaper, more effective and more humane.

Fox activity

December to February is one of the most common times that people experience a problem with foxes as it is their breeding season and consequently they are more vocal and territorial.

The autumn also sees an increase in the number of calls regarding foxes and this is due to the cubs dispersing and starting to establish territories of their own.

Problems associated with foxes

Common problems associated with foxes are fouling, digging and noise. Fortunately there are things which can be done to deter foxes and prevent some of these problems.

Preventing fox problems

Do not feed foxes

Although lots of people derive pleasure from feeding foxes it can lead to neighbours experiencing problems. Feeding foxes reduces their territory to approximately 10% of its former range. This increases the number of foxes in the area and also increases the likelihood that they will foul and dig in gardens.

Make sure your rubbish is secure

Although foxes will eat a diverse array of prey, they are lazy and will scavenge if food is not kept in a secure container. Put your rubbish in a secure bin and ensure the lid is closed.

Keep your garden clean and tidy

Foxes are attracted to gardens that are untidy and overgrown as these provide excellent shelter, particularly for mothers with cubs.

Clearing these areas will make them much less attractive, and hopefully reduce the numbers of foxes in your garden.

Objects such as old gardening gloves and shoes can smell very interesting to foxes and they may treat them as potential playthings and remove them from your garden. Try and tidy away anything of potential interest once you have finished with it.

Concrete bases for sheds and garages

Many females dig a den for their cubs under sheds and garages. We recommend that you build your shed or garage on a concrete base thus preventing the fox from digging underneath it. Ensure that all broken air bricks are replaced prior to the start of the breeding season.

Removing fox scents

The main reason that foxes repeatedly foul the same areas in gardens is to mark their territory. If they are fouling concrete areas, cleaning with chemicals such as bleach temporarily masks the smell: it does not remove it and therefore the fox continues to foul. Using a product that breaks down the residue of the waste can reduce the fouling in the garden. Use a biological washing powder mixed with hot water or get an enzyme based product from your vet.

Always use gloves when removing fox waste. You may have to persistently wash the same spot, sometimes everyday for a fortnight, but usually the fox eventually gets the idea and stops fouling in the area.

Commercial deterrents

If after taking the above measure you are still experiencing problems with foxes in your garden, there are some commercially available deterrents which you can purchase from your local garden centre.

The most commonly used ones are called ‘Get Off My Garden’ and 'Scoot'. Please be aware that these are aimed at cats and may therefore upset your or your neighbours' pets.

Find out more

6. £35 neutering voucher

You can apply for a £35 neutering voucher if you are resident in Lambeth, are in receipt of means-tested benefits and own one of these breeds of dog:

  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Mastiff
  • Rottweiler
  • American Bulldog
  • Greyhound
  • Lurcher
  • Akita
  • Husky
  • Malamute
  • German Shepherd
  • Samoyed
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Border Collie
  • any crossbreeds where the primary breed can be identified as one from the list.

The voucher, provided by the Dog's Trust, can be used at participating vets and the owner just pays £35 to have their dog neutered.

A limited number of vouchers are available and vouchers must be used before December 2017.

To apply for a neutering voucher email animalwelfare@lambeth.gov.uk including your name, address, dog’s name, age, breed and sex and proof of benefit.

To find your nearest participating vet please call 0333 202 1148. Voucher offer is subject to availability. For more information call 020 7926 8860.

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