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Last reviewed: Tue, 26 May 2015

Lost and found dogs

Reuniting pets and owners

Hi there. I am a male Staffy Cross about 6 months old. I was found on 26 May and I would really like to go home to my family. Do you know who they are? I am green disc 13.

Council will always do its best to reunite a lost dog with its owner, owners should in every case visit the dog shelter and check if their lost dog is with the Council.

Every dog is taken through the following process:

1. The dog is scanned for a microchip implant.

(i) Where a microchip number is located in the dog, Council staff will search on the relevant databases (National dog database and companion animal database) and where the dog owner can be located through that number, the Council will notify the dog owner to collect the dog. 
(ii) As dog owners move address or rehomed the dog to other owners, it’s critical that this information is shared with the Council to enable an update of the dog’s information.
(iii) Where a microchip is not located in the dog

2. The details of the dog are entered onto
(This is one of New Zealand’s nationwide websites/databases for lost and found pets.)

3. The dog is held in the care of the Council for at least seven days, while Council attempts to locate the owner.

(i) All dogs that enter the animal centre are checked for any obvious health issues and treated as necessary.
(ii) Where a dog is sick or injured, Council will seek veterinary advice.

4. After 7 days has lapsed and the dog owner has not claimed the dog, the Council becomes the legal owner of that dog.

Adopt a dog

What you should know before adopting a dog

Adopting a dog is a life altering decision that should not be taken lightly. The Council’s desire is to match every dog with the most suitable family or owner. We suggest that you carefully consider your personal circumstances before taking on the responsibility of owning a dog.

Can you answer "YES" to the following questions?

1. Are you over 16 years of age and can you care for a companion animal for its entire life? (The average lifespan of dogs is approximately 12 years)

(i) Dogs should be considered as part of your extended family and be treated like a family member.
(ii)The dog will depend on many important life supporting nourishments from you, including food, water, shelter, care and affection to name a few.

2. Can you afford a dog?

(i) You will need to seriously consider the on-going financial costs of owning a dog, as you provide life’s nourishments, health treatment, vaccinations, desexing and dog registration.

3. Do you know how to care for a dog?

(i) As a dog owner it is your responsibility to care for your dog. Council and vets can provide you with good advice, but it is important that you research before deciding to adopt a dog. 
(ii) (Check out our Animal Care pages, for more information about caring for a variety of animals).

4. Do you have time?
You will be required to provide the dog with exercise, grooming, obedience training and play. Puppies in particular, are a huge time investment - you will need to ensure that the dog adjusts into your house comfortably, where will the dog go while you are on holiday, will you take the dog for daily exercise, and train it to be obedient?.

5. Is your home suitable?
Carefully consider the kind of accommodation you can provide for your dog. The size of you home and garden should determine the type of dog you would adopt.

  • If you live in a rental property, you should check that you are allowed a dog before adopting; some landlords will not allow dogs. Council may require written consent as evidence from your landlord confirming your adoption.
  • All properties must be fenced to contain the dog.

6. Will a dog fit into your lifestyle?
Working hours, a busy social life and taking regular trips away are all factors you need to consider before adopting a dog. Before you adopt a dog consider their specific requirements:

  • Are you prepared to walk your dog every day?
  • Are you home often enough to keep your dog company?
  • Do you have time to give your puppy or dog the basic training it needs?
  • Who will care for your dog when you are away from home?

If you are already a dog owner and are increasing the number of dogs on your property you will require a Two or More Dog Licence in accordance with the Christchurch City Council Dog Control bylaw 2008.

These are just a few of the questions you should think about when deciding if the animal you want to adopt is the 'right fit' for you and your family.

NOTE: Not all dogs are available for adoption, so not all dogs may be available.

Some of our adoption success stories

My name is Baxter the Collie Cross and I have the best news. I have a new little sister and her name is Jazz! I have another sister Skye the Labrador cross and she is 11, she is old and doesn’t play with me as much anymore. My mum is Rowyn she works for Animal Management and she told me the other night that we would be getting a new sister. I tried not to be too excited but I can not wait!!! We can go for walks, play steal the ball of each other, I can steal her food, and best of all we can roll in horse manure together. Jazz was lost and waited at the Animal Shelter for 10 days. Her old parents never came to pick her up and my mum Rowyn saw her and thought that I needed a new playmate. I am going to be the best big brother.

Dear people of Christchurch. Hello, my name is Zoomer, this is some of my new family. I was at the shelter for about two weeks until the shelter staff selected this family for me. Nick, the bigger human said that he wanted me to join their family of five, two big people and three little people. The reason they wanted me is because they wanted to “Adopt, not Shop”. I look forward to being loved, going for walks and playing games. I promise the Animal Shelter they will never ever see me again.

My name's Pete and I work in the Christchurch City Council Call Centre handling all customer inquiries over the phone.

My best buddy Jack (6 1/2year old wired haired Jack Russell) got run over at the beginning of July 2014. Unfortunately he didn’t survive his injures and I had to lay him to rest.

But after five months, and a big overseas trip to Thailand, I decided that I was in need of a new dog. Being at the Council and taking animal management calls placed me in a very unique situation and within three days of being back I was going out to the shelter to visit this wee lady. After spending nine days at the shelter with no one expressing any interest or owners coming forward she was released into my custody.

After losing Jack and finding out how many dogs go through the shelter I knew the Shelter was going to be the place to find my new buddy.

If you have the time and commitment to take on a dog of any sort I highly recommend rescuing one from the Shelter.

This is Jock. Jock was being trained up for a search and rescue dog but, unfortunately, he did not pass his final test as he has a mind of his own.

And Kym, one of our Animal Management officers and Education officer, recently lost her dog who used to accompany her to her school talks. Kym would teach school children about safety around dogs with messages like "If a dogs on its own leave it alone".

Kym took Jock on a trial for the role of 'show and tell' dog and he has been so good that she has now adopted Jock takes him to her school talks.


The Council keeps a record of reported lost and found animals to help reunite pets with their owners.

If you have lost or found an animal, please report it to the Council by phoning (03) 941 8999 .

Our Animal Management team can assist if you have lost or found:

  • a dog
  • stock (cows, sheep, horses, etc)
  • poultry.

Please report any lost or found animals to the Council by phoning (03) 941 8999 .

Unfortunately, we can not help with animals such as cats, guinea pigs, rabbits or birds.

We will ask you for information to help identify the animal, including breed, colour, height, sex and any distinguishing features, and for your contact details so the owner/finder can get in contact with you.


Picture of a dog control officer reuniting pet with owners.

Animal Management enjoys reuniting dogs with their owners.

Animal Management enjoys reuniting dogs with their owners. Our rule is to:

Where possible, reunite the dog with its owners as quickly as possible and without penalty.

However, if the dog is known to be a previous offender it is likely to be impounded.

If you have lost your dog, as well as phoning the Council, you should also phone and/or visit the animal shelter to check whether your dog is there. Remember, it is important to ensure your dog is always wearing its registration tag or is micro-chipped so we can help identify it once found.

If you find a dog, we will try to contact the owner for you and ask that they arrange to pick their dog up from you. If we can not contact the owner, we will arrange for the dog to be collected by an Animal Management Officer, who will take the dog to the animal shelter.


If you find livestock or poultry wandering unsupervised on a road or public area, please phone the Council on (03) 941 8999 .

Other animals

If you have lost or found an animal other than a dog, livestock or poultry, you may phone the Council and record the animal on our database. This will only be a record to help reunite the animal with its owner. Council can not collect, impound or assist in finding these animals.

Other options

Pets on the Net is the SPCA's authorised 'lost and found' website. Check their site to see whether your pet has been located.

Visit the SPCA’s animal care centre in Wigram to see if your pet has been handed in there.

SPCA Canterbury Animal Centre
Phone: (03) 349 7057
Open hours: 10am–4pm, Monday to Saturday

Phone: 981 4708

Second Chance Dog Rescue CHCH
Phone: 027 722 7838 Charlotte Koppes 

Christchurch Bull Breed Rescue
Contact Details
Abbey van der Plas 0212967389


Authorising Unit: Inspections and Enforcement

Last reviewed: Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Next review: Thursday, 26 May 2016

Keywords: animals, lost and found