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This policy sets out how Dogs Trust uses your information to help further our work in protecting dog welfare. We want you to feel confident about your information and how we use it when you support our work and dogs in our care.

This policy covers all personal information collected by Dogs Trust. It applies to you if you interact with us, for example if:

  • You're a supporter of Dogs Trust (this includes donors, volunteers or if you rehome, foster or sponsor a dog)
  • You use any of our services
  • You visit any of our websites
  • You email, call or write to us.

Our privacy and cookie policy may change from time to time. To keep up to date, visit these pages occasionally.

If you have any questions relating to this policy or how we use your personal information, please contact the Data Protection Team:

Last updated 6th September 2023.

Who are ‘we’?

In this policy, whenever you see the words ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘our’ or ‘Dogs Trust’, it refers to Dogs Trust, (registered charity number 227523 in England and SC037843 in Scotland). Dogs Trust is the data controller responsible for keeping your personal information safe and using it wisely.

We do share your information within the Dogs Trust organisation, which is:

  • Dogs Trust Company Limited by Guarantee (Ireland), registered charity number 20057978
  • Dogs Trust Worldwide, registered company number 09365971, registered charity number 1167663, sharing and delivering our welfare work outside the UK and Ireland
  • Dogs Trust Promotions Limited, registered company number 00963277, our trading company.

What data do we collect?

Depending on how you interact with Dogs Trust, we might collect your personal information to help us provide and improve our services as a charity and to keep a record of our communications with you. The information we collect might include:

  • Contact details, like your name, email address, postal address and phone number;
  • IP address, username and other network activity data (see our Cookie Policy for more information about what data we might collect using cookies);
  • Responses you provide to our surveys and research, which might include gender, marital status and age bracket;
  • Professional information, like job title and organisation;
  • Date of birth;
  • Bank account number and other financial details;
  • Sponsorship or membership information;
  • Taxpayer status, so we can claim Gift Aid;
  • Communication preferences and your interests;
  • A record of our communications with you;
  • Your supporter and engagement history;
  • Photography and videography;
  • Sensitive information (see below);
  • Publicly available information from social media.

If you apply to rehome a dog, we might collect information relating to your personal circumstances, your household and the type of animal you are looking for.

If you apply to give up your dog, we might collect information about why you may be looking to give up your dog, and information specifically about your dog, such as their behaviour, medical conditions and treatments.

In some cases, we may also collect information about you from publicly available sources, such as financial, philanthropic and professional information.


When you visit one of our centres, we may record you on CCTV. We put up notices so you know when CCTV is used.

Sensitive personal information

We don’t collect sensitive personal information unless there is a clear reason for doing so. For example, we might collect:

  • Medical information if you are taking part in a marathon or similar fundraising event;
  • Conviction history information if you want to foster a dog or volunteer for us;
  • Information to enable us to recognise and respond to the needs of a vulnerable person or person with a disability.

We will only collect and record sensitive information to make sure that we can enable you to support our work in the way you choose. A clear notice will be supplied when we ask you to give this kind of information, so you know why we need it.

Where we collect your data

Dogs Trust will process your personal information when you:

  • Rehome or foster a dog;
  • Take part in a Dog School training class;
  • Use one of our Pet Food Banks;
  • Sign up for publications or newsletters;
  • Become a dog sponsor;
  • Contact our service centre;
  • Volunteer or fundraise for us;
  • Pledge or donate or sign up for an event;
  • Support one of our campaigns;
  • Register for our Canine Care Card service;
  • Purchase from our online shop or mail order catalogue;
  • Visit our website;
  • Telephone, write, contact us online or text us, or provide your personal information in some other way, such as filling in a form or application on our website.

Data from third parties and public sources

In an interaction with another company (e.g., signing up for a service), you may have agreed for your personal information to be passed to organisations like us for lead generation purposes. We use that lead generation data to contact you about our work, subject to your communication preferences. For example, we may send you post after receiving your information from a third party. If we do that, we ensure to put text on the mailing itself to let you know exactly where we sourced your data from and how you can change your preferences; we do not store this personal information ourselves unless you respond to the communication.

In some situations, we update our supporters’ personal information using information from public registers or other agencies. For example, we may check the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) or the Royal Mail's National Change of Address Database to

ensure our records are up-to-date and accurate. We also check for deceased and gone-away records to make sure we are not attempting to contact those who have deceased or moved.

We also use publicly available information to identify potential major donors who could support our work by giving a significant gift. The information will be used as the basis for the development of a fundraising relationship. You can find out more about this process in the ‘Accuracy, profiling and analysis’ section.

Our legal basis for collecting data

We always make sure that we have a valid ground for processing your personal information. Depending on the circumstances in which it has been collected and used, we rely on one of the following legal bases:

  • Where you have provided your consent to allow us to use your personal information in a certain way, such as receiving news by email, phone or text message;
  • Where the processing is necessary to honour a contract with you, such as providing dog sponsorship or sale of goods through online gift store;
  • Where the processing is necessary for us to comply with a legal obligation, such as sending members their AGM papers;
  • A legal obligation to use or disclose information, such as keeping records for Gift Aid purposes, or disclosing information relating to incidents involving dangerous dogs for insurance purposes under the Dangerous Dogs Act;
  • Where it is in our legitimate interest to perform administrative functions or for governance, such as processing donations or following up an information request; or
  • Where it is in our legitimate interest to generate funds or publicise our work, such as send you marketing communications by post. 

When we use legitimate interest

Legitimate interest is a legal ground for processing your data. It means that our use of your information must be fair and balanced to ensure we consider your privacy rights and interests as an individual.

Listed below is a summary of all Dogs Trust legitimate interests to hold and process your information.


  • Delivery of our charitable purpose, which you can see in detail in the Dogs Trust Constitution
  • Intergroup transfers between: Dogs Trust, registered charity number 227523 in England and SC037843 in Scotland); Dogs Trust Company Limited by Guarantee (Ireland), registered charity number 20057978; Dogs Trust Worldwide, registered charity number 1167663 and Dogs Trust Promotions Limited, registered company number 00963277.
  • Reporting criminal acts and compliance with law enforcement agencies
  • Internal and external audit for financial or regulatory compliance purposes
  • Reporting required by law or regulation

Generating funds and publicising our work

  • Direct marketing, which is marketing that is actionable by the recipient and measurable by us
  • Other forms of free or paid for marketing, publicity or advertising including campaigns, income generation and fundraising to support our work
  • Marketing communications by post where our legitimate interest is to raise funds to deliver our charitable purposes
  • Digital marketing, using tools on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter, TikTok and LinkedIn to support our work and increase engagement with us
  • Personalisation of communications such as post or email, so they are relevant and interesting
  • Exercise of the right to freedom of expression or information, including in the media and the arts
  • Analysis, targeting, and segmentation to improve our understanding of our audiences and our ability to do more for dogs
  • Processing for research purposes, including market research

Managing our operations

  • Physical security, information technology and network security
  • Processing for historical, scientific or statistical purposes
  • Financial control and management
  • Processing financial transactions and keeping financial controls
  • Prevention of fraud, misuse of our services, or money laundering
  • Enforcement of legal claims including debt collection via out-of-court procedures
  • Where Dogs Trust has been named as beneficiary or executor, administration of supporters' estates and/or gifts in Wills

Administrative purposes

  • Responding to enquiries or complaints
  • Delivering orders for products or information
  • Delivering dog sponsorship benefits
  • Delivering membership benefits
  • Rehoming dogs
  • Administration of active dog insurance policies
  • Administration of Gift Aid
  • Maintenance of suppression files, to ensure we honour ‘do not contact’ requests
  • Sending thank you communications and receipts
  • Administration of active financial transactions

If you’d like to know more about how we balance your rights and our charitable purposes, or to request a copy of ‘Marketing and Communications and Legitimate Interests: Who and How Long for?’, you can email our friendly Supporter Services team.

Children and vulnerable people


We are happy to have the support of children and young people who want to fundraise for us, or who engage with the work of our Education Team through Learn with Dogs Trust or in schools. We may therefore need to collect and store their personal information. Children should always ask a parent or guardian for permission before sending personal information to anyone online.

If you are planning to rehome a dog, we will collect information on whether there are children in your household and their ages to make sure we match you with the right dog.

For those under 16, where appropriate we may seek consent from a parent, guardian or carer before collecting their information.

Vulnerable People

We care about the safety of vulnerable persons and, while we welcome their support, we also work hard to ensure we are meeting their needs while upholding their rights. To do so, we might collect information to enable us to recognise and respond to the needs of a vulnerable person.

We abide by regulatory guidance on fundraising with people in vulnerable circumstances.

If you think Dogs Trust has interacted with a vulnerable person and have any concerns, please get in touch with our Supporter Services team. Note that we may ask for identification if you are acting on behalf of a vulnerable person.

Accuracy, profiling and analysis


To improve the relevance of the communications we send you, and to ensure we are using your information efficiently, we check, analyse and enhance your personal information.

From time to time, we may contact you to ensure that the information you have provided remains accurate and up to date. If we have not heard from you for some time, we may also contact you to check that you are happy for us to continue sending communications.

To prevent unwelcome contact, we are registered with the Telephone Preference Service and Fundraising Preference Service. We also check against external data lists such as the Post Office’s National Change of Address database and The National Deceased Register.

Profiling and Analysis

We may also analyse your information to help us understand the likelihood that you will be interested in or responsive to communications such as appeals or services.

We may add publicly available information to the information you provide, to create a profile of your likely interests and your ability to support us, including the level of any potential donation you may be able to give. This information is compiled from sources such as public registers, listed Directorships, the electoral roll, newspaper articles and social media posts.

This helps us to take a more personal and informed approach to our communication with you and allows us to raise funds to support dogs more effectively and efficiently.

We may also from time to time engage specialist research agencies to help with our research, but only where we are confident that they will treat your data securely. This includes screening our supporter database against the agency’s database of publicly available information to assess whether our existing donors may have the capacity and propensity to provide additional support to Dogs Trust. If, so, then we may reach out to see how we may engage with them further.

Following regulatory obligations and our policy, we may also use such personal information to carry out due diligence on potential or actual donors. If you opt-out of analysis of your data in this way, we may not be able to accept donations from you.

If you would prefer us not to analyse your information, or to add to it, you can let us know.

How we use your data

In brief, we process your personal information to help us effectively improve dog welfare in the UK and abroad, provide our charitable services, comply with the law and to help us raise funds for our charitable services.

Purposes of processing

We have summarised below the main ways we use personal information and provided possible examples of purposes for which we collect, store and process your data. These uses depend on how you interact with and use our various services, websites and activities and our relationship with you. Please also see our ‘When we use legitimate interest’ section, which includes details on how we may process your data when it is within our legitimate interest to do so.

Keeping you informed

If you agree to receive communications from us or it is in our legitimate interest to contact you via post, we may be in touch with you about the following:

  • Our supporter magazine WAG, and other newsletters and updates keeping you up to date on everything to do with the dogs you help us care for
  • Our gift catalogue, online shop promotions and other services such as insurance and dog friendly holiday homes
  • Appeals and fundraising – everything from requests for donations, how you can raise money for our work, to raffles, information about how you can leave us a gift in your will, and news about the difference your donations are making
  • Rehoming or training a dog – information, updates and news
  • Opportunities to support our campaigns
  • Events – open days, Fun Days and opportunities such as meeting our team or hearing from experts
  • Volunteering opportunities, to support us at our local centres
  • Education through Dog School

Depending on your preferences, you may receive communications by post, email, phone or text message. You can change your preferences at any time. See the of this policy for more details on how we might analyse your informationto ensure effective communication.

We’ll never share your personal information with organisations outside the Dogs Trust organisation for their own marketing purposes.

We may also process your information to communicate with you regarding an enquiry you make.

Donations and fundraising

If you donate or fundraise for us, we’ll use any personal information you give us to process your gift and claim Gift Aid if you have told us you’re eligible. We may send you a thank you letter and send you administrative communications.

If you’ve told us about leaving a gift in your will, we will keep details of this. Where a donor has passed away and we are receiving their legacy gift, we will manage and administer their legacy donation. This involves processing personal information of individuals involved in the estate administration.

If you enter a lottery, we will use your information to process your payment and enter you into the draw, verify your age and to keep a record of any self-exclusion requests from gambling activity.

If you enter competitions, prizes and games we will process your personal information to notify winners and may publish your images, names and stories to promote our work, with your permission.


For information on our use of cookies, see our Cookie Policy.


We carry out research with our supporters to get feedback on our services. If you choose to take part in one of our research projects, we will ask for your consent to use the information you provide for our research purposes.

Occasionally we may also use your personal information for research purposes so that we can improve our services and better meet the needs of our supporters and supporting our animal welfare objectives.

Case studies

Stories, photos and case studies from our supporters are an important part of the content we share to illustrate our work, which we couldn’t do without you. We might use these in places such as our newsletters, magazine, or on our website. Wherever we use such information, we will always obtain your prior consent.

Rehoming or giving up a dog

When you apply to rehome one of our dogs, we will use the information you provide us to assess your suitability for rehoming and to help us match the right dog to you. We will also register new owner details on a microchip database (see the ‘How we disclose and share your data’ section below for more information) and offer post-adoption support.

If you need to rehome your dog, we will use the information you provide us to establish how we can best look after your dog while it is in our care and to ensure it goes to a suitable new home.

Dog School

When you register to attend one of our Dog School classes, we’ll collect your contact information and all the additional information we need to understand and meet you and your dog’s needs and enrol you into the class.

We may also use your personal information for research purposes if you give your permission.

Signing up for our Canine Care Card

We will also collect and process your information when you sign up to our Canine Care Card. This is so that we can send you a registration pack and administer the scheme.

Buying from our catalogue or online shop

When you buy goods from our online shop or mail order catalogue, we’ll collect information from you so that we can process and fulfil your order or contact you if we have any queries about your order. Orders will be processed by our supplier Otter House Ltd. View Otter House’s Privacy Policy.

Volunteering for us

If you’re a volunteer or fosterer we will collect details to support, provide training for and communicate with you about your work. We may also need extra information about you (such as references, criminal records checks, details of emergency contacts or medical conditions). We will keep this information for legal or contractual reasons, to protect us (including in the event of an insurance or legal claim), and for safeguarding purposes.

Our Centres may also share volunteer information with us for the purposes of keeping a register of current volunteers. Further, your personal information will be held and processed so that we can contact you about future volunteering opportunities. We’ll only hold information relating to the nature of your voluntary work and we’ll delete it in accordance with our retention policies.

How we secure your data

We are committed to keeping your information safe. Policy and processes have been designed to govern how we manage your personal information and we have invested in training on this for all our staff. Our staff complete mandatory information security and data protection training to reinforce their responsibilities and requirements.

Data storage

Dogs Trust’s operations are based in the UK, and we endeavour to store all our data in the UK or within the European Economic Area (EEA). Some service providers may transfer your personal information outside the EEA, including to the USA, but we will only allow this if we are sure that your information is adequately protected.

Financial and sensitive data

We ensure that additional controls are in place for financial, sensitive and other special categories of information, to make sure we meet regulatory and legal requirements for managing these types of information.

Your payments via debit or credit card are passed securely to our payment processing partner.

Website Security

We maintain a high level of physical and electronic security to keep your data safe. We use modern encryption software to ensure all the personal information you give over the internet, including credit card numbers, bank account details and name and address, is encrypted. Encryption takes the words and figures you enter and converts them into bits of code that are then securely transmitted over the internet.

While we make every reasonable effort to ensure that information sent to us is done so securely, we cannot warrant the security of information transmitted to us through the internet. When you transmit information to us via the internet, you do so at your own risk.

How we disclose and share your data

We share personal information within our organisation, this includes Dogs Trust; Dogs Trust Limited (Ireland), registered charity number 20057978; Dogs Trust Worldwide, registered charity number 1167663; and Dogs Trust Promotions Limited, registered company number 00963277, our trading company.

We’ll never share your personal information with third parties for their own marketing purposes.

Service Providers

We may share your information with trusted service providers who work on our behalf, for example, fundraising agencies, data analysis specialists, direct marketing agencies, software platform providers and researchers. We only provide them with the information they need to deliver the relevant service.

In some circumstances relevant staff of our service providers will have access to your personal information. This access is granted to the extent necessary for them to perform their services for us. All our service providers must comply with strict rules to protect the information you have given us.

Social Media and Digital Marketing

We may provide some of your details to advertising platforms or social media companies who work on our behalf, such as Meta and Google. These enable us to reach existing and prospective audiences more accurately with targeted ads when you visit Facebook, Instagram or Google services.

The data we share will be in a hashed form. Hashing means providing a coded list which ensure that the platform does not receive your actual personal information. The platform will use the contact information they already have, turn it into a code and see if there are any matches between the list we upload and the details they already hold. After the match process has been completed, the hashed list will be deleted.

Using the matches found, we can create audiences that either contain our existing supporters or exclude them, which helps make our advertising more efficient, relevant and accurate.

For more information on these tools, please see the following:

If you do not want us to share your email address with digital marketing platforms (Meta and Google), even in a hashed format, then you can ask us not to by emailing us or calling us on 020 7837 0006.

Please be aware that if you are a Facebook, Instagram or Google user or account holder, you may see Dogs Trust advertisements even if we do not share your personal information with these platforms.

You can control what ads you see via your ad settings within these platforms; we have no control over this.

Rehoming a dog

If you rehome a dog from us, we will also share your personal information with Petplan® insurance, to enable insurance of your rehomed dog.

It is a legal requirement that all dogs we rehome are microchipped. We will share your personal information with a microchip company in case your animal goes missing. Depending on which microchip is used, this will be one of the following providers, who you can contact on the phone numbers provided:

Microchip providers Phone number

  • Anibase - 01904 487600
  • PetIdentity UK - 0800 9751960
  • PetLog - 01296 336579
  • PetTrac - 0800 652 8 977
  • SmartTrace - 01208 420999
  • National Veterinary Database - 0330 123 9924
  • Protected Pet - 08452 262712
  • Animal Tracker - 01279 219777
  • MicroChip Central - 01223 790100

Required sharing

Where necessary and proportionate, we may need to share your information for legal and compliance reasons.

For example, we must share Gift Aid data with HMRC. If we have a safeguarding concern, we may share your personal information with the relevant authority. We also share information to further fraud protection and reduce the risk of fraud, or when requested by the police or a regulatory or government authority investigating illegal activities.

How long we keep your data

We will retain personal information for different periods of time depending on your relationship with us and in line with our Retention Policy and Schedules, relevant laws and best practice recommendations. Once we no longer need to keep it we will delete or dispose of it safely and securely.

If you request no further contact from us, we will only keep basic information about you on our suppression list to avoid sending you unwanted materials in the future.

Your data protection rights

You have a number of rights under data protection legislation.

Your right of access

You have the right know what information we hold about you and you can request to see it verbally or in writing. This is called a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR).

We will supply any such information you ask for as soon as possible and within 30 days, although this timeframe may be extended by up to two months if your request is particularly complex. You will be asked for proof of identity as we need to be sure we are only releasing your personal information to you.

You can call, write to, or email us with your request. Please put ATT. DATA PROTECTION TEAM - SUBJECT ACCESS REQUEST on your envelope, or in the subject line of your email, so we can process your request as quickly as possible.

Your right to be informed

You have the right to be informed how your personal information will be used. This policy, as well as any additional information or notice that is provided to you either when you provided your details, or otherwise, is intended to provide you with this information.

Your right to withdraw consent or to object

Where we process your personal information based on your consent (such as sending emails or text messages) you can withdraw that consent at any time. You also have a right to object to us processing data where we are relying on it being within our legitimate interests to do so, such as sending you information by post.

Your right to restrict processing

In certain situations, you have the right to ask for processing of your personal information to be restricted, such as a disagreement about its accuracy or legitimate usage.

Your right of erasure

In some cases, you have the right to be forgotten, which requires that your personal information is deleted from our systems. Where you have requested that we do not send you communications we will need to keep some limited information on a suppression list, so we know not to contact you again.

Other rights

As well as rights of access and amendment referred to above, individuals may have other rights in relation to the personal information we hold, such as the right to data portability, the right to rectification, and rights relating to automated decision making and profiling.

Contacting the Data Protection Team

If you wish to exercise any of these rights, please contact the Data Protection Team:

If you wish to change your communication preferences or update your contact details, please see how to do so in the ‘Contact us’ section below.

Contact us, and what to do if you’re not happy

Changing your communication preferences

Please help us get things right by telling us when your contact details and other personal information changes. You can change your communication preferences or opt-of marketing at any time:

Please note that if you tell us if you no longer want to hear from us, and you are on our supporter database, you may receive a few items in the following weeks. This is because we must select supporter information a few weeks in advance of sending post to you.

If you ask us to stop contacting you altogether, we will keep your contact information on our suppression list to ensure that you do not receive unwanted future communications.

Data protection enquiries and complaints

The Data Protection Team can answer any queries you have about how Dogs Trust processes your personal information:

If you have a complaint regarding data protection, please contact the Data Protection Team directly in the first instance using the contact information above.

If you are not satisfied with the response from the Data Protection Team, you can email [email protected] and it will be handled in accordance with our Complaints Policy.

In addition, you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office or to the Fundraising Regulator. Please note that Dogs Trust has no affiliation with, and is not responsible for, third party websites linked in this policy.