Stray Pets

Stray dogs are the responsibility of the local council on behalf of the public. The RSPCA are contracted by certain councils to house these animals. If you find an uninjured stray dog, in the past AREC has been happy to scan these dogs for a microchip and contact the owners if a microchip is found.
**Unfortunately, given the current COVID-19 Pandemic, many of our hospital processes and policies have needed to change.  We also have many new stringent guidelines to ensure the safety of our staff and clients.  As a result, unless the animal is in need of first aid treatment, we are unable to assist.  You need to contact your local govt authority for guidance – many of these local details are listed further below.**
Dogs can be taken by members of the public, to the RSPCA lock up runs at Tighes Hill or Rutherford. (See Aerial photo map below) These runs are checked regularly by the rangers, and all dogs provided with shelter, water and food. If you cannot transport a stray dog to the RSPCA, please contact the council ranger on the details below.

Private veterinary practices are under no obligation to take in uninjured strays, and it is more appropriate that they are taken in a timely manner to the RSPCA, and thereby the council ranger, where they are most likely to be reunited with their owners. As an emergency hospital catering for sick pets for most of the daytime veterinary practices out-of-hours, AREC does not have the space or resources in terms of staff time to look after these animals. (See below for address and map of RSPCA surrender pens)

If a stray cat or dog is injured then AREC will admit the animal and provide emergency first aid which involves relief of suffering in the form of pain relief and in certain circumstances humane euthanasia if required. Emergency first aid does not cover treatment of a specific condition. If an owner is found then we will go ahead with treatment once consent from the owner is obtained. The care for the stray pet is transferred to the RSPCA as soon as the RSPCA is open and the animal is fit for transport.

The council does not always take responsibility for stray cats. The RSPCA will take on stray cats as a service to the public and like the situation with dogs, there are lock up cages available at Tighes Hill and Rutherford RSPCAs for stray cats. AREC cannot house stray, uninjured cats.

Please contact your local council 24 hour phone lines to be put in touch with a ranger or compliance officer. Councils can be contacted on the following numbers;

  • Newcastle City Council – 02 4974 2000
  • Lake Macquarie City Council – 02 4921 0333
  • Cessnock City Council – 02 4940 7816
  • Port Stephens City Council – 02 4980 0255
  • Maitland City Council – 02 4934 9700

If you find a stray pet that is injured please contact AREC on 02 4957 7106.

RSPCA Tighes Hill – Surrender Pens
75 Elizabeth St, Tighes Hill


Please contact the Native Animal Trust Fund on 0418 628 483 regarding wildlife questions. For emergency veterinary treatment of wildlife contact AREC on 02 4957 7106.