• Frequently Asked Questions

    I run a rescue and would like to offer a placement for a stray dog. What requirements must we meet to qualify?

    Any rescues offering a placement for a dog via Animal Lifeline UK must adhere to the following:

    All dogs must be properly assessed before being rehomed or placed into foster care.

    Pound dogs must never be placed directly into foster homes where there are resident or visiting children.

    Rescues must have a 'no kill' policy (unless advised on medical grounds by a veterinary surgeon).

    All dogs must be vaccinated and microchipped.

    All dogs must be neutered before the date of adoption, with the exception of puppies, or unless advised by a veterinary surgeon on medical grounds. If the dog is too young or the surgery could not be carried out prior to adoption (in the case of bitches who have been in season too recently) a contract must be signed by the adopter to confirm the dog will be neutered as soon as applicable (as advised by a veterinary surgeon). The rescue must then undertake follow up checks to confirm the dog has been neutered. Bitches must never be rehomed whilst in season.

    Thorough home checks must be carried out on all potential homes prior to the date of adoption.

    The rescue must offer a lifetime 'back up' guarantee for all dogs, i.e. take back any dog that must, regardless of circumstances, be rehomed.

    Generally only rescues that have been operating for a year or longer will be considered. Unfortunately many new rescues in the UK find themselves closing their doors within the first 12 months due for unforseen circumstances or costs. This can leave animals in urgent need of alternative placements and others without the lifetime 'backup' normally offered to rehomed animals.

    If you are a new rescue to us we require proof of vaccinations, microchipping and neutering for each pound dog you take from us. Please do not offer a placement for any dog unless you are prepared to do this.

    If you are a rescue and can help please email us at: support@animallifelineuk.org

    Who makes the decision to euthanase a stray dog?

    Animal Lifeline UK works very closely with a number of pounds across the UK to secure rescue spaces and transport for stray dogs to get them to safety. We will always do everything we can to find a safe haven for every dog we are asked to help with. However, during busy periods pounds can fill up quickly with stray dogs, and without a rescue place for them to be transferred to sometimes dogs are euthanased to make space for incoming animals. This decision is made solely by the pound and NOT Animal Lifeline UK. We have no authority whatsoever to decide whether or not a dog is put to sleep.

    According to the Environmental Protection Act, 1990, Control of Stray Dogs (Section 149 Seizure of Stray Dogs):

    41. If a stray has not been collected by its owner after seven days, the officer may under section 149(6) dispose of the dog:

    by selling it or giving it to a person who will in his opinion care properly for the dog;

    by selling it or giving it to an establishment for the reception of stray dogs; or

    by euthanizing it in a manner to cause as little pain and suffering as possible.

    The UK pounds we work with are privately-run and are contracted by local councils to provide a stray dog service. They are not rescues, nor do they have the resources to check prospective adopters, or capacity to hold dogs indefinitely. This means they rely on Animal Lifeline UK to ensure that the above legal requirements are satisfied and that each dog goes to a suitable rescue where dogs will undergo a veterinary check, vaccinations, neutering and microchipping and prospective homes will be thoroughly vetted.

    '44. Where a dog is disposed of under section 149(6)(a) or (b) to a person acting in good faith, officers will need to satisfy themselves of the suitability of such persons or establishments.'

    Animal Lifeline UK helps by carrying out follow-up checks to ensure dogs receive all the care and attention they need from the receiving rescue. Where possible, particularly with new rescues, we may also carry out further rescue checks to satisfy that the criteria for acquiring stray dogs or other animals via Animal Lifeline UK is met.

    Why can't dogs be rehomed or fostered directly from the pound?

    This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, many pounds will not rehome directly to a member of the public as they are unable to satisfy the following legal requirement:

    41. If a stray has not been collected by its owner after seven days, the officer may under section 149(6) dispose of the dog: by selling it or giving it to a person who will in his opinion care properly for the dog;

    Pound dogs spend a minimum of seven days in kennels but their history and background before this is usually unknown.

    It is not uncommon for the behaviour of dogs to be very different when taken out of kennels and placed in a home environment. Some dogs become less stressed, while others may react to people or situations they may or may not be familiar with.

    Is is important, therefore, for the safety or the dog, the foster family and existing pets in the home that the pound dog be fully assessed by a qualified or otherwise trained and experienced professional in a controlled environment before placed into foster care. This allows the rescue to determine the type of foster home that would best suit the dog and avoids putting anyone at unnecessary risk.

    It would be very dangerous and totally irresponsible to allow stray dogs to go straight from pounds into family homes without being first properly assessed.

    Animal Lifeline UK, nor the pounds we work with, have the resources or facilities to evaluate how individual dogs react to children, dogs or other pets so it is essential that prior to rehoming, or placing in a foster home, receiving rescues carry out thorough assessments of their own to determine the most suitable home environment for each dog.

    There are many instances in which other pounds and rescues have placed stray dogs straight into family homes and those dogs have gone on to attack children and kill other pets in the home. Neither the pounds we work with, nor Animal Lifeline UK are willing to take this risk by placing unassessed dogs straight into homes or foster homes.

    Pound dogs are also normally 'quarantined' for a period of time (normally around two weeks) to ensure they are free from any signs of disease or illness. Once assessed and given a health check and first vaccination by a veterinary surgeon these dogs can go on to be fostered as normal.

    Of course we do not want to see any healthy animal put to sleep. Animal Lifeline UK staff and volunteers work incredibly hard and long hours to save animals in need and ensure they go on to lead a safe and happy life. However, we, along with the pounds and councils we work with, can only do this by ensuring rules and procedures are in place to protect both members of the public and the stray dogs we are tasked with helping.

    It's heartbreaking to see so many stray dogs at risk. How can I help?

    There are many ways to get involved and potentially save a pound dog. You could:

    'Like' our Animal Lifeline UK Facebook page and share appeals for rescue spaces and transport with friends and local rescues.

    The Animal Lifeline UK Facebook page can be found here:

    Offer to transport a dog from the pound to their rescue placement. Even a short distance can be a huge help.

    Adopt or foster a rescue dog! This can potentially 'free up' space for other dogs in urgent need of a rescue placement.

    Offer to carry out homechecks on potential foster or forever homes (once dogs are in rescue and have been assessed) to create more space for pound dogs.

    A special thanks to everyone who helps by 'sharing' our pound dogs via our Facebook page to help find them rescue places. Without your help so many wouldn't be here today. The power of sharing really does work so please keep sharing them all! You can find the Animal Lifeline UK Facebook page here: Animal Lifeline UK Facebook Page

    If you have space in your home and your life for a foster animal, or are able to help with transport or home-checking please contact us!

    E-mail us at: info@animallifelineuk.org

    Join Animal Lifeline UK today by clicking here and help us to save more animals: