Ryedale District Council


You are here: Home Environment Animals and pests Responsible animal ownership

Responsible animal ownership

What does our service include?

  • investigating complaints regarding dog fouling, stray dogs and barking dogs
  • 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 the RSPCA and the Police in relation to complaints regarding animal welfare
  • pet identification


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
  • 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.


Anyone 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 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.

Many town and parish councils 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.

Take the Lead, Take the Bag!

The 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 work 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.  The Council, with the agreement of North Yorkshire County Council has  sprayed stencils on the ground in dog fouling hot spots to remind irresponsible dog owners to pick up and bin their dog waste.

We have produced a poster (PDF, 1 page, 194kb) for the campaign.


We 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 is seized, it is first checked for identification
  • If the dog is found to be persistently straying, it will be seized and taken directly to kennels
  • The owner will be notified that the dog has been kennelled. The owner of any impounded dog may have to pay a stray charge, 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.


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

  • any local vets to find out if anyone has handed it in or reported it as a stray dog
  • post on social media to share the information locally
  • get in touch with your microchip company, who will send out an alert to vets local to the area

Make sure you give a full description of the dog and where it was last seen.

Outside normal working hours, please telephone the Ryecare Service on 01653 697737, who will pass on the details to the Community Team on the next working day.  If we have had any reports of stray dogs matching the description you give we will let you know or, if you are fortunate to have your dog found and reported by a member of the public, we will put the finder of your dog in contact with you directly.


If you find a dog during normal working hours please email the Community Team.

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 appointed kennels by contacting the Ryecare Service on 01653 697737.


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 changed in 2016 to require that all dog owners have their pets micro-chipped. We work with The Dogs Trust to promote micro-chipping and have made arrangements for participating vets to undertake this service free of charge.


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. 


The police have a duty to deal with 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
  • by allowing it to enter a private property and while it is there, injuring any person
  • and if there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will do any of the above

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.

For more information, please see our Dangerous Dogs page.


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 Community Team.

  1. An 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.


The Council believes that all animals have the right to enjoy five basic freedoms:

  • Freedom from fear and distress
  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour


  • A useful summary can be obtained on the RSPCA website
  • The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, is the main piece of legislation protecting wild birds and other animals. Find a summary on the RSPCA website
  • Anyone keeping an animal in captivity has a legal obligation to meet that animals needs under the Animal Welfare Act. To keep a wild animal in captivity, you may need a licence
  • Licences are required for performing animals and are issued by North Yorkshire County Council

Pet care advice

  • Pet shops in the Ryedale area are licensed by us and should provide pet care advice on the care of your pet when purchased
  • There are also a range of other organisations that can produce information on the care of your pet, including The Animal Welfare Foundation, RSPCA, Blue Cross, PDSA, Dogs Trust etc.
  • Take preventative measures rather than wait until a problem affects your pet or animals. Advice on health measures can be obtained from your vet and may include vaccination for a range of common diseases or simple flea treatment
  • If your animals are housed outside the home, attention to housekeeping such as storage of food in sealed metal containers, controlled feeding/watering or adequate fencing can help minimise unwanted visitors such as rats or mice

Seasonal animal concerns

The different seasons bring different challenges to a range of animals, whether it's the heat of summer or the cold of winter. A range of advice is available via the RSPCA website.

If you have any questions or need more information, please submit an Enquiry Form.


We collect dead animals from the roads and footpaths throughout the district. If you notice an animal that requires collecting please submit an Enquiry Form or telephone 01653 600666.

All livestock carcases must be disposed of at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) approved premises; for further information please visit the North Yorkshire County Council website.

It is distressing enough to loose a pet dog or cat but if the animal is killed on the road, the owner may never find out.

We 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 Community Team.


If you wish to bury your family pet in your garden, check that the body is buried at least 1.25m deep and well away from ponds, streams, wells, underground pipes and cables.


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 Community Team.




Contact us

Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House
Old Malton Road
Malton, North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH

Email: Contact the Council

Phone: 01653 600666

Connect with us


Like us on Facebook Facebook 
Follow us on Twitter Twitter
Follow us on Flickr Flickr
 Subscribe to us on Youtube= YouTube
 Connect with us on LinkedIn= LinkedIn