Stray dogs and dog control

A stray dog is any dog, which is free in a public place without its owner being present. This means that any dog outwith its own property/garden unattended is classed as a stray. Legally it makes no difference if the dog is loose accidentally, has been released without authority of the owner, or has been deliberately allowed to roam. An authorised officer of the Council has the right and the Council has a duty to uplift any dog suspected as being a stray. Stray dogs are a problem as they may injure themselves, act aggressively towards members of the public or other dogs, cause road accidents or foul in public places or other peoples property.

Reporting a stray or out of control dog

Monday to Friday 9:00am to 3:00pm please contact Customer Services who will alert Inverclyde Council's dog warden service.

If you find a dog outwith these hours call Police Scotland on 101.

Lost dogs

If you have lost your dog please contact us as we may have been made aware of sightings of a dog and we have the powers to uplift a dog if found in a public place.    If the dogs have a microchip or identification disc they are returned to the owner only on the first occasion they are stray, otherwise they are taken to the SSPCA facility at Cardonald from where they can be re-claimed by the owner (after the payment of fees) or rehomed.  The dog warden has until 16:00 to deliver any dog in his possession to SSPCA facility at Cardonald. The contact details for the facility are available on this page.

Your responsibilities

  • Your dog must be microchipped.
  • You must not allow your dog to stray.
  • A dog in any public place must have a collar and tag with the owner’s name and address on it.

Out of Control Dogs

Dog owners have a legal requirement to keep their animals under control and there are sanctions available to authorities in dealing with out of control dogs.

Please note that any incidents involving a dog biting attack or serious injury on a person or another animal should be referred to Police Scotland for initial investigation. Inverclyde Council will consider other incidents involving a dog being out of control which gives rise to reasonable alarm or apprehension for the safety of a person or another animal. For further information see below.


Do dogs have to be kept on a lead?

The law says that dogs must be kept under close control, but does not state dogs must be kept on lead. If a dog responds to the owners commands and is kept close to heel, can lie down or returns on command, the dog would be considered to be under close control. If you're not sure that your dog can do this the responsible thing is to keep them on a lead.

'Out of Control'

Any dog, regardless of its breed, can cause fear and alarm, or even serious injury, if its behaviour is 'out of control'. This does not necessarily mean that the dog has acted in an aggressive manner. However, the legislation relates to when a dog's behaviour give rise to alarm, or apprehensiveness, which are reasonable in the circumstances.

Dealing with out of control dogs

The local authority can investigate concerns brought to our attention if we have the following information.

  • Details of when the incident took place, date and time.
  • Details of the dog(s) owner, - address, name (if possible).
  • Details of dog(s) involved in incident.