DEFRA Guidance on stray dogs and dangerous dogs

Defra have published guidance on the law relating to stray dogs and dangerous dogs in England and Wales. Copies of these documents are available for downloading in our Links section.The law on stray dogs changed in April 2008 with Local Authorities having the sole responsibility for them; the Police no longer have any responsibility for strays.The law on dangerous dogs is complex and this guidance covers the many different laws in force.Further information is available on Defra’s website:

The Sunday Time’s Daniel Foggo has uncovered another greyhound slaughterhouse, this time in Hertfordshire, (Sunday Times 02 November 2008). The difference between this and the “killing fields” he exposed at Seaham, is that this is an actual knackers yard that charges owners £20 a time to kill their greyhounds using a bolt gun. The activity is said to be legal and the owners of the knackers yard say that their service is necessary to help owners dispose of old or injured dogs.

GRW first published a paper in 2004 that outlined the “routine” way in which many greyhounds are disposed of after they finish racing. This article underlines the nature of the problem and provides more evidence that there is in place a well organised system to kill and dispose of large numbers of unwanted greyhounds when they “retire”.

The expose reinforces the need for proper independent control over welfare standards in greyhound racing. Hopefully, the National Assembly for Wales will do just that within one or two years. Self-regulation, as being proposed in England is simply not enough and will only perpetuate the status quo, and the slaughter.

Scanning of Stray and Dead Dogs

In January 2010, GRW contacted all 22 local authorities in Wales and the three Trunk Road Agencies. Like most responsible animal welfare charities, GRW insists on all dogs in its care being microchipped and wanted to check local Councils would scan any dog found straying, and also how they deal with dog fatalities as a result of a road accident.


The table below lists all 22 Councils and their responses. All Councils claim that if they find a dog wearing a collar and tag (which is a legal requirement) then they will attempt to contact the owner. The table below simply reports the answers given by the Councils we do not speculate on how Councils can recognise a first time offenders.

For dead dogs, none of the Trunk Road Agencies in Wales scan fatalities. In England, the Highways Agency (equivalent organisation) does.

A number of Councils pointed out that even if a dog is microchipped, sometimes the chip can move round the body and not be easily read or can fail after a number of years. The charity agrees and understands that microchipping is not an infallible form of identification.


A further point raised was that when a dog is scanned, and a chip is present, strays in particular are often found to have contact information that is out of date the charity strongly recommends all dog owners ensure that their details are correct and updated on databases used.


NB Anglesey and Gwynedd Councils have their own Voluntary Dog Registration Schemes. Any dog found straying in these areas that is a member of the scheme will be returned directly to its owner without going into the pound kennels. These systems have holiday membership available if you are planning a trip to these areas with your dog. A small fee is payable (typically around £3) you can find further details on the Councils websites.


The following Councils will unequivocally scan both live and dead dogs “ Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Swansea and Wrexham.

The following Councils do not routinely scan dead dogs and do not always scan live strays “ if your dog has strayed in or near one of these areas, you should NOT assume you will be contacted. Anglesey*, Bridgend, Ceredigion, Conwy, Vale of Glamorgan, Neath Port Talbot.

*Except for dogs in Voluntary Scheme


Name of Authority Policy on Scanning Stray Dogs Policy on ID of dead dogs
Anglesey Council Yes “ on first occasion. Taken to kennels on subsequent collections. Do not currently scan dead dogs.
Blaenau Gwent Yes. Owners will be contacted by phone and in writing. Dead dogs are scanned for microchips and owner notified if found.
Bridgend Dog warden has discretion to contact, not automatic. Out of hours kennels will contact. Department responsible does not have access to a scanner. Dead animals (both dogs and cats) have breed and markings recorded for identification if the owner calls then animal is sent for cremation at pet crematorium.
Caerphilly Yes. Taken to depot and scanned. If present, owner notified.
Cardiff Yes. No scanning.
Carmarthenshire Yes. No scanning, but will contact owners if details are available via collar.
Ceredigion Where duties allow. “Repeat offenders” taken straight to pound. Domestic pets taken to depot, for storing in freezers before ultimate disposal. Local attempts made to identify and community wardens do scan for chips.
Conwy Yes on first occasion. Taken to kennels on subsequent collections. Dead dogs not scanned.
Denbighshire Yes, by both dog warden and out of hours kennel service. Owner contacted. Dead dogs not scanned. Note made of breed.
Flintshire Yes. Dead dogs are scanned for microchips and owner notified if found.
Gwynedd Yes. Dead dogs not scanned.
Merthyr Tydfil Yes. Dead dogs not scanned.
Monmouthshire Yes. If body is complete, description noted and warden will scan, then contact owners if possible. When a dog is picked up by the Highways section out of hours or off a trunk road the dog is not scanned (management reluctant to provide equipment).
Neath Port Talbot Yes, but dogs who stray repeatedly may be taken straight to pound. Cleansing teams pick up dead dogs and do not carry scanners. However, dog wardens will scan dead dogs if looking for a specific animal.
Newport Yes. Dead dogs not scanned. Taken to pet crematorium at Redwick.
Pembrokeshire Yes. Dead dogs picked up by refuse teams who do not have scanners. Will inform dog wardens of dogs collected and will allow scanning by wardens on request before disposal.
Powys Yes. Dead dogs not scanned. Record kept of location found and description, dog kept in depot for short while in case owner reclaims.
Rhondda Cynon Taff Yes. Highways staff will bring dead dogs found into animal pound for scanning. If chip present, owners informed of the dog’s location and given the option to collect the body.
Swansea Yes. Dead dogs collected and scanned. Also scan cats where practicable. Owners contacted where practicable. If unable to contact, body sent for disposal.
Torfaen Yes. Do not check dogs for micro chips, although do check for collars and ID tags. If no ID tags the animals are kept 24hrs before being disposed of.
Vale of Glamorgan Dog wardens will scan and reasonable attempts made to return animal if first time stray if repeat offender, straight to kennels. Out of hours service does NOT scan dogs as not contracted to. Dogs picked up and note taken of location and description if owner contacts. No scanning. Body taken to depot and stored >3 months before disposal at pet crematorium.
Wrexham Yes Dead dogs are scanned for microchips and owner notified if found.

Changes at the Special General Meeting

The 2012 Special General Meeting was held on 26th February at the Riverside Community Centre, in Builth Wells. There executive committee following the AGM in November 2011 agreed to put themselves all up for re-election. The following people were elected to officer positions in the Charity.

Chair: Alain Thomas

Vice Chair: Jon Trew

Treasurer: Roger Thomas

Secretary: Lynda Anthony

Sly the lurchers leg is saved by swift action

When Sly the lurcher’s owners left him at the PDSA with a broken leg it looked like that the only way to prevent gangrene and save his life was to amputate. However as a last chance, staff at Swansea PDSA contacted Greyhound Rescue Wales to see if they could help. The charity that rescues greyhounds and lurchers reacted quickly and agreed to take the dog on.

Greyhound Rescue Wales had previously managed to avoid amputation and save the limbs of other greyhounds with the help of  Burry Port vet Sebastiano Puglisi of Alpha Vets. After getting in touch the vet agreed to come in on his day off and treat the poor animal. Now with his leg in a special fibre glass cast, it looks like the injured animal’s leg will be saved and Sly the lurcher will be able to run again.

Bradley Evans, Rescue Co-ordinator at Greyhound Rescue Wales said “A lurcher is usually a greyhound crossed with another breed. They love to run and some greyhounds can even reach up to 40 mph, so when one of these breeds loses a leg, it can be a real blow. “

One year old Sly will have to be immobile and wear his cast for at least eight weeks but if everything goes to plan, he should be running around again soon. However the story doesn’t end there. Sly is currently recovering in a foster home and the charities next job is to find him a forever home.

Bradley continued ” Sly is a lovely boy and has been a model patient and once recovered will make someone a lovely pet. “If you think you could give a good home to Sly or one of the many other greyhounds and lurchers currently in the care of Greyhound Rescue Wales please ring their helpline 0300 0123 999 or visit their web site

Irish Racing Greyhounds Mass Grave Discovered

A grim discovery was made over the Easter weekend when a walker came across a mass grave of former racing greyhounds.

The bodies in various stages of decomposition were discovered in the open and unburied, at a former quarry about 40 kilometres south east of Limerick.

An initial examination of the site by Limerick Animal Welfare has revealed the bodies of seven or eight dogs, all greyhounds. However as the site is extremely overgrown further bodies may yet be discovered in the thick undergrowth. It appears that the site has been used on more than one occasion to kill and dump the bodies of greyhounds. Some of the bodies are relatively recent, while others are in more advanced stages of decay.

Marion Fitzgibbon spokesperson for The Greyhound Rescue Association of Ireland (GRAI) who has visited the site said, “Two greyhounds, a black bitch and a fawn dog were killed fairly recently as their bodies are not decomposed. They both appear to have been killed by an impact to the head. There are other greyhound bodies in the quarry, Limerick Animal Welfare estimates another seven or eight but the terrain is very overgrown and a proper search may reveal more.”

Marion continued, “We know these dogs are racing greyhounds, as each animal is required to have a unique identifying tattoo in each ear. Some of the tattoos are still legible to the naked eye. This information has been passed to Limerick County Council and the Gardai have also been informed.”

GRAI is calling on the Irish Greyhound Board, the Bord na gCon, to thoroughly investigate and report on the circumstances that led to these dogs being killed and dumped in this way.

The GRAI spokeswoman went on, “Bodies being left to rot in the open, as well as being a public health hazard, also portrays the Irish Greyhound Racing Industry in a very poor light and does not live up to the “World Class Welfare Standards” they aim to achieve for greyhounds.. We are certain they will be as shocked as we are upon learning of this killing pit. We are sure that every respectable greyhound owner will welcome firm action being taken against all those involved in the killing of these dogs and who has broken the law. “

However GRAI believes this to be only the tip of the iceberg. Last year there were 3,271 registered greyhound litters in Ireland. A conservative average of seven pups per litter makes 22,904 dogs, however less than 16,000 greyhounds were registered that year to race at 12 months old. Taking into account the number of greyhounds that retire each year due to age or injury GRAI estimate between 8,000 to 10,000 greyhounds disappear every year.

Marion Fitzgibbon said, “These dogs did not need to die. Greyhounds can make faithful, gentle and loving family pets. They are great with children and unlike many other breeds only need around 30 minutes walk per day. Even when these dogs are unable to race anymore usually at the young age of 3-4 years old, they can still live long and happy lives. Over 6,000 greyhounds are homed as pets every year in the UK and we would like to see greyhounds being homed as pets in Ireland.” 10/04/2012

For more information click here 

Record Breaking Summer

Not only were records being broken at the Olympics and Paralympics stadium this summer but Greyhound Rescue Wales are having a record breaking time finding new homes for greyhounds and lurchers.

Charity Chairman Alain Thomas said, “I’ve never known a summer like it. Usually during the holidays the number of dogs we re-home dips but this year the opposite has happened and our re-homing numbers have gone through the roof!”

The charity reported that a record breaking 17 greyhounds and lurchers were re-homed during August, with 14 dogs re-homed in June and 13 in July, re-homing almost as many dogs during this three month period as the whole of the previous year. Fortunately this has been coupled with some record breaking fundraising, with over £1,100 donated in one day by shoppers during a street collection in Queen Street Cardiff on Saturday 8th of September.

Vice Chair Jon Trew said “there is no single magic formula to achieving this success, just like the Olympic athletes it has involved long hours of hard work from a group of very dedicated supporters, but there are a couple of important changes that have really helped. We have completely embraced new technology and in particular social networking. Our Facebook site now has over 1,000 followers, which this means we can contact our supporters quickly and keep them up to date with all aspects our work. It also means we can react quickly when there is an emergency, finding foster parents or volunteers to transport dogs. We are also now working more in partnership with other charities such as Greyhound Rescue West of England, Dogs Trust and Hope Rescue. However we cannot become complacent, there are still so many greyhounds and lurchers out there who need our help.”

At least 10,000 greyhounds “retire” from racing in Britain every year at an average age of just 2½ years old. Either through injury or because they are judged to be no longer fast enough to race. As well as these dogs there are also large numbers of lurchers, dogs crossed either with a greyhound or another sighthound and bred for hunting. Greyhound Rescue Wales are finding these dogs dumped in increasing numbers, often because they are have turned out not to be good enough hunters, or because their owners no longer want them. The charity believe that greyhounds and lurchers make great pets and encourage anyone considering getting a pet dog to choose a greyhound or lurcher.

Learning with a Lurcher

Sometimes lurchers can be a real handful. Many of the greyhounds we rescue are at least expected to parade around the track on a lead; however some of the lurchers we find are completely wild and difficult to control. 

As cross breeds, these dogs are often highly intelligent but their unstructured upbringing and an unstimulating kennel environment can leave these dogs bored, frustrated and therefore difficult to re-home. The solution to this problem seems obvious – dog training classes!

As a way of making Mork the lurcher more re-homeable, Angie Webb signed the naughty pup up for obedience classes. “At first” she said, “I thought it might be a big mistake, as Mork entered the classroom on his hind legs. Ben (dog trainer) seemed unfazed and our first task was to walk around and introduce all of the dogs, they were all shapes and sizes. We did this by letting the dogs sniff each other bums. Introductions should always be nose to bum, as bums don’t bite. The next step was getting the dog’s attention. We did this with small treats and Mork cottoned on very quickly. The following week Mork was able to sit. We achieved this by using the lead to train him. Then followed getting him to lie down, go backwards, turn, stay and next week we do recall.”

Inspired by Angie’s idea, GRW Rescue Co-ordinator Sandra Wynne put the word out for a volunteer to take on another of our mischievous lurchers and take them to obedience classes. Paddy had twice been re-homed but each time it had fallen through due to his wayward behaviour. Fortunately GRW member Selena Burn has agreed to start taking Paddy to dog training classes and we are hoping that Angie’s success with Mork will be replicated with Paddy.