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.

What to do if you find a stray dog

A stray dog is one that is in a public place or on private land, with no owner present to control it. Most stray dogs in Guildford are people's pets that have run off.

As a council, we are legally required to impound stray dogs roaming the borough. From 1 March 2019, we will be using a contractor called Dogbusters to do this.

We would like to reassure owners that dogs impounded in our borough will be housed in a licensed kennel where their welfare needs will be met. They will have a warm bed and be well fed. They will be bathed and taken to a vet if needed. Owners of dogs requiring a vet's care will be responsible for paying for this.

How to contact Dogbusters

If you find a stray dog, please call Dogbusters on the mobile phone number: 07769972813 (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week). Dogbusters will collect secured stray dogs that have been found in our borough.

Dogbusters care for the stray dogs we impound for seven days, after which time unclaimed dogs are found new homes. Dogbusters will scan each dog for a microchip and check collars and tags for identification and will contact the registered keeper as soon as possible.

If you have found a dog, then by law you must hand the dog in to the Council for the area where the dog was found. Failing to hand in a stray dog may leave you open to allegations of theft and the original owner not knowing what happened to their pet. This can cause families a lot of distress. You may be allowed to keep the dog but you MUST present the stray to the council first, as described above.

To complain about a neighbour who regularly allows their dog to stray, use our dog issue online form. We look into these complaints using anti-social behaviour legislation.

Lost dogs

If you have lost a dog, contact Dogbusters on the mobile number 07769972813 (operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week). If they have your dog, they will let you know. If your dog has been impounded, a fee must be paid before the dog can be returned.

This fee includes a Government fee and is set by us. Once this fee is paid, Dogbusters will deliver your dog back to you.

If they do not have your dog, Dogbusters will keep your details and contact you if they find your dog.

You may also want to register your dog as missing on Please note that Doglost is not our website and we cannot be responsible for any content within it.

Call charges

Please note that calls to mobiles are charged between 10p and 20p per minute from landlines and are typically not included in free call packages.

Call costs from mobiles vary according to the calling plan chosen and may cost between 3p and 55p per minute.

Calls between mobile phones are normally included in free call packages.