Under the Companion Animals Act any dog which is in a place, other than where it is ordinarily kept, unaccompanied by a responsible person is a "stray".
Any person, including a council officer, may seize a stray dog in the following circumstances as provided under the Act:
- If a dog is found in a public place and is not under the effective control of some competent person (section 13)
- If a dog is in a public place prohibited under the Act (eg children's play area or food preparation/consumption area) (section 14)
- If seizing the dog is reasonable and necessary for the protection of any person or animal or to prevent damage to property (section 22)
- If the dog has attacked a person or animal and the dog is on property owned or occupied by the person seizing the dog. (section 18)
In addition, council officers and police have powers to seize a dog which has attacked from the owner's property if the owner is not present and the dog cannot be adequately secured on the property (section 18).