Strays in Newcastle – What to Do When You Discover a lost or stray Animal

Strays in Newcastle – What to Do When You Discover a lost or stray Animal AREC Vet

Did you know, if you find a lost or stray animal (and they do not require emergency care), the correct contact is your local council area?

Unfortunately, due to overwhelming demand for our emergency & critical care services, we simply don’t have capacity to assist with rehoming strays.

Wait, what? You’re a Vet and can’t help?!

As much as we would love to be a part of reuniting furry family members, our job is to prioritize our hospital and staff for all the sick and injured animals in our care.

Private veterinary practices are under no obligation to take in uninjured strays, and as an emergency hospital catering for sick pets 24/7, AREC does not have the space or resources to help scan for microchips, locate owners, or look after these animals.  

If the animal is in need of urgent first-aid treatment during daytime hours, you should contact your nearest Veterinarian first. 

If the animal is in need of urgent first-aid treatment after hours, we are of course able to assist.

The best contacts if you find a stray animal

Stray animals are the responsibility of the local council on behalf of the public.

Please contact your local council 24 hour phone lines to be put in touch with a ranger or compliance officer.

You can contact councils using the following numbers; 

  • Newcastle City Council – 02 4974 2000 
  • Lake Macquarie City Council – 02 4921 0333 (Boolaroo impound Facility) 
  • Cessnock City Council – 0438 742 541 – (Animal Management Facility) 
  • Port Stephens City Council – 02 4980 0255 
  • Maitland City Council – 02 4934 9700 (Customer Service) or 0438 742 541 – (Animal Management Facility) 

What about the surrender cages at Tighes Hill?

As of 2021, the Tighes Hill Surrender cages are no longer available to the public.  While Newcastle City Council is still operating holding cages at Tighes Hill for strays that the council rangers collect, the surrender cages are no longer operational or accessible. 

    What if the stray is injured?

    Due to the high demand for our services and our limited cage space over this busy period, we are only able to accept strays after hours who are in need of emergency assistance and cannot wait for Veterinary care.

    Uninjured stray animals are the responsibility of your local council on behalf of the public.

    If an animal is requiring critical attention, any open Vet Clinic can render first aid. 

    In the event that an animal requires immediate assistance – we will admit the animal, 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. 

    If an owner cannot be contacted, the Ranger will then transport them to the relevant shelter once the animal is stable and fit for transport. 

    Is there any other action I can take?

    Absolutely! If the animal isn’t needing urgent medical attention, some actions that can go a long way to reuniting a pet with its owner include: 

    • Firstly, if you find a lost dog or cat wearing a collar or tag, please contact its owner first. This sounds obvious but sometimes the contact details are slightly hidden, written on the underside of the collar, etc.  
    • Finders may want to try walking the dog around and seeking an owner. Sometimes, dogs may generally walk themselves home or in the direction of. Or their owner may be out and about looking for them and will see you when walking the dog about. 
    • If you have secure area to keep the animal and are happy to keep the animal till morning, you can hold onto the animal until the council is available. 
    • AREC can take the details of the animal found and add them to our stray log. As the finder, you can give us permission to pass along your contact details if the owner rings in. 


    The power of social media:

    There are various other online resources you may wish to utilise, such as Facebook lost and found pages/groups. This is your choice and these groups are not affiliated with AREC:

    Thank you for caring about lost and stray animals.

    If you have further questions about what AREC can or cannot do when you find an animal, you can always contact us 24/7. 


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