Dog Warden

The Dog Warden deals with noisy dogs, stray dogs, dog fouling problems, licensed or unlicensed animal establishments and advice on responsible dog ownership.

Changes to animal welfare licensing laws

The law has changed as of 1 October 2018 and the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 are now in force. 

We are working towards fully understanding the changes and implementing them as smoothly as possible. For more information, visit the website's animal welfare licensing laws web page or our Animal activities licensing page. 

The changes affect anyone involved in the following animal activities:

If you have questions about how the new rules may affect you, contact Customer Services: 01483 505050, email

Please read the guidance notes on what will be required. You can add more than one activity to each licence, however you must read the guidance as some activities are not compatible.

Application forms

Please see our Animal activities licensing page for application forms.


All premises will be inspected before the licence is granted. The inspector will be checking the applicant has the following:

  • a specialist knowledge in the species they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This would include the animal's mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of environmental enrichment. The applicant should be able to demonstrate that they have researched and followed expert guidance in order to carry out their role.

  • comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities.

  • an understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the Inspector to examine.

  • training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff.

The premises will also be assessed so we can be sure the licence holder can meet the new laws relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept.

Based on the information, we will assess the risk rating and award stars.

Low-risk premises can attain up to five stars, and premises that have been assessed as higher risk can be awarded up to four stars. If the applicant is not satisfied with the decision, they can make improvements to address highlighted issues, and ask for a re-inspection.

A premises with a lower star rating is not necessarily a premises to avoid as there are other factors that have to be considered, such as the length of time the licence holder has been operating. New businesses will be assessed as slightly higher risk simply because there is no history of good practice that can be considered. Some older premises cannot attain a five star rating due to the way they were originally designed.

Premises already licensed under the old legislation will continue to be licensed until such time as their licence expires. They will then have to apply for a new licence under the new regulations.

Dog warden
Compulsory dog microchipping

From 6 April 2016, it is a legal requirement that all dog keepers have their dogs microchipped and registered on one of the authorised databases. For more information please see our page on dog microchipping.

Dog fouling

We have made a icon 'Public Spaces Protection Order' [37.75KB]  to control dog fouling, using the 'Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014'. Under this Order, dog walkers must clean up immediately after their dogs foul in all public areas of the borough.

We patrol areas that have been reported as fouled and will look into signage, bins, clearance and, as appropriate, highlight fouling using a chalk-based red spray paint.

If you want to report someone who does not clean up after their dog, or to let us know about an area that is fouled, you can report dog fouling with our online form. All details are confidential.

People caught failing to clean up will be given a fixed penalty notice. If this is not paid within 14 days, or if the same person is caught in the future, we will prosecute. Dog fouling is an offence and carries a fine of up to £1,000. People who leave bagged dog waste on land/ trees and bushes will be dealt with for the offence of leaving litter.

Noisy dogs

The Dog Warden can offer advice about noisy dogs, whether you own one or live near to one. For further advice visit the Government's dog web page.

If you are being regularly disturbed by a noisy dog, you can report it using our dog issue online form.

Antisocial dogs

The Council now have powers to deal with dog owners under the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Antisocial dog behaviour can include:

  • Dogs straying or roaming from a property

  • Dog fouling

  • Dog noise

  • Dogs not kept under proper control

  • Dogs causing annoyance

  • Dogs attacking other dogs / pets / animals

If you are being bothered by any of the above, you can report an antisocial dog using our dog issue online form.

The initial step we take is to send a letter to the owner. If the behaviour continues we may then issue a notice, which if breached could result in the owner being taken to court.

Dangerous dogs

A dangerous dog is one that causes you or another person injury or reasonable apprehension of injury.

Aggressive or dangerously out of control dogs should be reported to the Police by calling 101, or in an emergency, 999.

Stray dogs

A stray dog is one that is in a public place or on land that it has no business being on, with no owner present to control it.

The Council is required to deal with dogs that are roaming within its area. If you find a stray dog, you must call the Dog Warden (01483 505050) or take the dog directly to Treetops Kennels in Guildford (tel: 01483 572588) who will accept dogs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Council looks after stray dogs for seven days, after which unclaimed dogs are found new homes.

If you wish to complain about a neighbour who regularly allows their dog to stray, you can report an antisocial dog using our dog issue online form. We can investigate the complaint using antisocial behaviour legislation.

Lost and found dogs

If you have lost a dog you should contact Treetops Kennels on 01483 572588. If a dog is impounded, owners will be charged a fee when collecting it. This is currently £66 for the first day or part day and increases daily. This includes a Government prescribed fee.

If you have found a dog then by law you must hand the dog in to the Council responsible for the area where the dog was found. Failing to hand in a stray dog may leave you open to allegations of theft.

The Council receives daily reports of lost dogs and reunites dogs and owners wherever possible.

The dog you have found may have a microchip or a tattoo. The Dog Warden can check for these so that owners may be contacted as soon as possible.

If you wish to keep the dog, you can only do so once the Dog Warden has been contacted, visited your property, met the dog and checked all lost dog reports. The Dog Warden will issue a legal notice stating that you can then look after the dog unless a person proving to be the original owner comes forward.