Ryedale District Council

Dog wardens

The Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Service is a high profile service, which undertakes all the Council's statutory functions with respect to dogs in order to protect the health and safety of people and to preserve amenity.

Our Service Includes;

  • investigating complaints regarding dog fouling, stray dogs and barking dogs
  • providing advice to customers in relation to responsible dog ownership
  • providing educational talks and initiatives to promote responsible dog ownership, delivering talks to schools, youth groups and general public awareness campaigns
  • providing dog fouling information and the erection of signs throughout the district
  • liaising with parish/town councils over the provision of dog waste bins or dog waste bag dispensers
  • arranging special clean ups with the Council's Streetscene team and assisting other key organisations such as RSPCA and Police in relation to complaints regarding animal welfare
  • providing assistance and advice in relation to feral cats
  • licensing of a range of establishments including dog breeding, animal boarding and pet shops
  • pet identification

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005: Dog Control Orders

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 has given powers to the Council and town and parish councils to make Dog Control Orders.The regulations provide for five offences which may be prescribed in a Dog Control Order:

  • failing to remove dog faeces;
  • not keeping a dog on a lead;
  • not putting and keeping a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer;
  • permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded; and
  • taking more than a specified number of dogs on to land.

Existing dog byelaws and designations under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 are not affected by the introduction of the above legislation.

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Dog Fouling

dog foulingAnyone in charge of a dog, who does not immediately clear up after their dog, is liable for a fine by the issue of a Fixed Penalty Notice. This applies on any land which the Council has designated under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996.

Failure to pay within 14 days or repeat offenders may be prosecuted in the magistrate's court and may face a penalty of up to £1000.

Fixed Penalty Notices may be issued by the Council's Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer, local authority officers, Police Officers, Police Community Support Officers or any person with designated powers.

The law applies to all areas of land in the open air, which is publicly accessible, with or without payment. This includes mostly publicly accessible areas within the 40mph speed restriction area of most towns and villages, play areas, sports fields, public parks, picnic areas, graveyards, the grounds of places of public worship and village greens.

Take the Lead, Take the Bag!

Ryedale District Council, North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire County Council and Safer Ryedale Partnership are working in partnership to tackle dog fouling, which is one of the main anti social complaints identified by the Ryedale community.

The partners are working together on a Programme called "Take the Lead, Take the Bag". The Programme aims to ensure that people are aware of their responsibilities to pick up after their dogs. Many town and parish councils already have dog waste bins at key points in their area and some also have bag dispensers near the waste bins to further encourage dog owners to pick up after their dog. The Council, with the agreement of North Yorkshire County Council has already sprayed stencils on the ground in dog fouling hot spots to remind irresponsible dog owners to pick up and bin their dog waste.

Please see the downloadable leaflet.

Caught Doing Right

A further campaign "Caught Doing Right", was launched in 2013, to highlight the vast majority of responsible dog owners who do pick up after their dogs. The campaign aims not only to enforce the law, but also change behaviour and encourage dog owners to pick up and bin their waste. During patrols by the Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer and North Yorkshire Police, responsible owners are rewarded with a "Caught Doing Right" card which can then be entered into a free prize draw.

Stray Dogs

The Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer will respond to all complaints of stray dogs within the service standard of 1 working day. Any complaint of a stray dog(s) that is likely to cause a road accident or are roaming in packs will be dealt with urgently.

There is no legal definition of a stray dog; however, the Council considers that a dog may reasonably be treated as a stray if it is roaming freely and not under the control of any person, irrespective of whether it has a home.

  • If the Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer has reason to believe that any dog found in a public place is a stray dog, the Warden may legally seize the dog and detain it
  • If the dog is seized, it is first checked for identification
  • If the dog is found to be persistently straying, it will be seized by the Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer and taken directly to kennels
  • The owner will be notified that the dog has been kennelled. The owner of any impounded dog will have to pay a stray charge of £25, plus the cost of kennelling fees and any veterinary costs before the dog will be released
  • If no contact can be made or if the dog does not have any identification then the dog will be taken straight to the holding kennels
  • Once at the holding kennels, the dog will remain there until it is claimed by the owner or for up to seven clear days after the date of seizure
  • If the dog is not claimed during this period then it will be re-homed
  • Only in extreme circumstances will a dog ever be 'put to sleep'. This normally happens if the dog is dangerous or on the advice of a veterinary surgeon if the dog is ill.

See "Finding a dog" below for arrangements if you find a stray dog.

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What to do if you lose a dog

If you lose a dog during normal working hours please contact:

Give a full description of the dog and where it was last seen. If the Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer has had any reports of stray dogs matching the description you give they will assist you in finding it.

If you lose your dog outside normal working hours then contact the above telephone number and leave your and your dog's details on the voicemail and the Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer will contact you on the next working day to assist you.

Alternatively, please telephone the Ryecare Service on 01653 697737 who will pass on the details to the Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer the next working day or, if you are fortunate to have your dog found and reported by a member of the public, put the finder of your dog in contact with you directly.

Pet identification service

It is distressing enough to loose your pet dog or cat, but if the animal is killed on the road, the owner may never find out. The Council are often called out to collect the bodies of any such pets on the road, but arrangements are in place to ensure that all such dogs and cats recovered by the Council are scanned for microchips, so we can advise the owners and bring them closure in such unfortunate events.

For further information contact the Dog Warden and Animal Health Officer 01653 600666.

What to do if you find a dog

If you find a dog during normal working hours please contact the Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer on 01653 600666.

If you find a stray dog outside of normal office hours you can either hold onto the dog until the next working day and arrangements will be made for collection or you can take it to one of the two appointed kennels by contacting the Ryecare Service on 01653 697737.

If you are unable or unwilling to do either of the above, please contact the Ryecare Service on the above telephone number and, where practicable, a collection service will be arranged.

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Collar and tag/microchipping

It is a requirement of the Control of Dogs Order 1992 that dogs must wear a collar and tag at all times while in a public place or highway (subject to certain exemptions), even if they are microchipped. By putting a collar and tag on your dog you may enable somebody to return it to you if it becomes lost.

The tag or collar must contain the owner's name and address on it. It is recommended that, that as well as your home phone number, you also add a mobile number (if you have one) to allow a finder to contact you if you are out looking for the dog. Offending dogs may be seized and treated as strays.

The law is changing from 1 April 2016 to require that all dog owners have their pets micro-chipped. As a responsible dog owner you are strongly advised to get your pet micro-chipped. We are working with The Dogs Trust to promote micro-chipping and have made arrangements for participating vets to undertake this service free of charge.

In addition a number of micro-chipping surgeries are been held at a number of locations around the district. For further details contact The Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer or tel: 01653 600666.


In order to prevent unwanted puppies it is worth considering having your dog/bitch neutered or spayed. It could save you a lot of time and trouble and also bring recognised health and, in some cases, behavioural benefits to your dog e.g. reduced aggression.

Neutering/spaying is carried out by most veterinary surgeries and it may be helpful to discuss the benefits of such an operation with your vet.

Neutering is a simple operation carried out under a general anaesthetic. Bitches are 'spayed', which involves removing the womb and the ovaries. In a male dog the testicles are removed, this is called castration.

Subsidised neutering and spaying is available via the Dogs Trust if you meet certain criteria. 

Dangerous Dogs

The main legislation that covers dangerous dogs is the Dogs Act 1871 and the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

The Dogs Act 1871 makes it an offence to have a dog which is dangerous and not kept under proper control when in a public place, and also in places where the dog is on the owner's private property to which other people have a right of access.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 covers the law for the ownership of pit bull terriers, Japanese tosas, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero. The Act also places restrictions on other dogs believed to be in danger to the public. The Act makes it an offence;

  • for a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place or
  • by allowing it to enter a private property and while it is there, injuring any person, or
  • if there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will do so.

A dog does not have to bite someone to be deemed dangerous. If you are convicted you can face a fine up to £5,000 and/or up to two years in prison in addition to the court ordering the destruction of the dog involved. The police also have a duty to deal with dangerous dogs.

For more information, please see our Dangerous Dogs page.

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Barking Dogs

The Council investigates noise complaints under the terms of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Complaints about barking or noisy dogs should initially be forwarded to the Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer.

  1. The Officer will initially contact you to discuss the details of your complaint
  2. With your agreement, the Officer will make contact with the owner of the dog and offer advice on preventing or minimising the noise
  3. If the problem continues you will be required to keep diary records of the dates and times the dog/s is/are barking and how the noise affects you
  4. The diary records should then be submitted for assessment
  5. If the complaint is deemed to require further investigation, an Environmental Health Officer will take over the supervision of the complaint

You will be kept advised of the action we are taking during investigations. Where verbal information is given, this can be confirmed in writing if requested.

Further Information

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) can provide specialist animal welfare information and advice. Please contact them at their website below, call their Yorkshire and North East Headquarters on 0113 234 2144, or write to them at PO Box BR29, Leeds, LS13 2XL. The 24 hour RSPCA cruelty line is 0870 55 55 999 (calls at national rate).

The Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) website contains detailed information about their work on pet welfare and animal cruelty.

Alternatively please contact the Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Officer on 01653 600666.



Attachments (downloads)
FileNo of pagesFile sizeCreated
Download this file (Responsible_dog_ownership_2014.pdf)Responsible dog ownership3109 kB07-2014
Download this file (Take_lead_take_bag_leaflet_June_2013.pdf)Take the lead, take the bag leaflet4354 kB11-2013
Download this file (take_the_lead_poster.pdf)Take the lead, take the bag poster3194 kB12-2014

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