Wandering Dogs

If you own a dog and it wanders away from your property, it may be impounded and you will have to pay a fee to collect it. If your dog causes damage, or injures a person or another animal, you can be made liable for this damage.

Preventative measures to stop your dog from wandering


The size and activity level of your dog should determine the type of fence that you need to prevent your dog from escaping. The dog must not be able to jump or climb over, dig under or push through the fence.

For dogs that jump, try adding an inward sloping extension to the top of the fence. Alternatively, you can put up an additional low internal fence, about a metre in from your boundary fence. This stops the dog getting a ‘run-up’ at the fence or getting into position to jump up the fence.

If the dog is digging out, you may need to dig a trench around the bottom of the fence and fill it with concrete, or bury a strip of chicken wire at the bottom of the fence.

Self-latching gates

Self-latching gates should be installed to prevent your dog from getting out accidentally.

Pen or compound

When fencing the whole yard is difficult, dogs may be kept in a pen or compound. These should be big enough for the size of your dog, and should be built in a quiet, sheltered area. Do not build the pen or compound near your neighbour’s fence or a busy footpath.

A concrete base is better than dirt as it is easier to keep clean and prevents digging out. 

Dogs kept in a pen or compound must be exercised regularly.

Running wire

This is a wire run between two supports. The dog is attached to the wire by a chain lead which slides along the wire, allowing the dog to walk up and down. Do not attach the wire to the fence, or close to the fence, as the dog may jump over the fence and strangle itself.

If the dog gets tangled around the supports, place a block near each end of the wire to prevent the dog getting too close to the supports.

If you use a running wire, you must still have proper fences to keep your dog in.


Tethering your dog on a rope or chain is not recommended, as the dog can easily get tangled. You must still have a proper fence even if your dog is tethered on a rope or chain.

Problems with confinement

Dogs not used to being confined, or that are confined for too long, may cause problems. They may begin to bark too much, or may damage property or injure themselves trying to escape.

To avoid these problems:

  • Gradually get the dog used to confinement by keeping it in for short periods of time to begin with, first with the owner still at home and later when the owner goes out. Slowly increase the length of time in which the dog is confined
  • Play with the dog and feed it in its enclosure, so that it doesn’t think that the enclosure is a punishment
  • Make sure the enclosure is safe and secure
  • Place the enclosure in a quiet area of the property
  • Ensure that the dog has shelter, water, toys and is comfortable.

If the dog barks or tries to get out, give a firm command, ‘No’. Praise the dog if it is quiet. Only let the dog out again when it is not barking. If your dog does not respond to commands, it may require further obedience training.

Contact us

If you find a wandering dog, please contact the City.