Countdown to dog microchipping laws

From April 6, all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales will have to be microchipped. In Northern Ireland, it is already a legal requirement.
From April 6, all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales will have to be microchipped. In Northern Ireland, it is already a legal requirement.

Only a few days remain until all dogs must be microchipped by law.

On April 6 new government legislation will come into force making it compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped or owners could face a £500 fine.

Microchipping will not, however, replace the legal requirement for dogs to wear a collar or tag with the owner’s details in a public place. A free Lancaster City Council ‘chipping event will be held on Monday April 11 from 5pm to 8pm at Centurion with Westgate Scout Hut, Heysham.

Coun Karen Leytham, cabinet member for environmental health, said: “This is an important step forward for dog welfare and will greatly assist in re-uniting dogs with their owners quickly and easily should they ever become lost.

“To prepare dog owners for the change we’ve held a number of free micro chipping events over the last two years and ‘chipped in excess of 500 dogs and we intend to continue holding these free microchipping events throughout 2016.

“There’s therefore no excuse and if someone still has not had their dog microchipped I would urge them to do so as soon as possible.”

Statistics show approximately 1.8m dogs still do not have a microchip in the UK, meaning they can’t be traced back to their owner if they are found alone.

The new legislation is also designed to prevent illegal breeding of dogs and reduce pressure on animals welfare centres who take in dogs which can’t be reunited with their owner.

Amy Wilson, charity manager at Support Adoption For Pets, said: “Pet owners shouldn’t worry about microchipping their pet. It is a very simple and easy procedure which is almost painless for any animal.

“A microchip is no bigger than a grain of rice and is injected under the skin at the scruff of the animal’s neck. Each microchip has a 15-digit code which is unique to the pet and can be read through a special scanner.

“We cannot express the importance of getting your dog microchipped. It is to the owners advantage and gives peace of mind that your family dog can be returned home.

“It is also vital that all owners keep their contact details up-to-date on a microchip database. We advise all dog owners looking to get their dog microchipped to check out their local vets and pet shops as many are running reduced cost or even free microchipping.”

Support Adoption For Pets has designed a new grant scheme for 2016 designed to support the new legislation. The Helping Paws Award will see £4,000 given to 20 rehoming organisations to buy scanners and microchips.
From April 6 the keeper (who the dog usually resides with) of a dog older than eight weeks must ensure that it is microchipped unless a vet has certified it should not be microchipped for health reasons.

Dog breeders are the first keeper of a puppy. The breeder must therefore have the puppy chipped before transferring it to a new keeper.

A dog is not deemed to be chipped unless the keeper’s details are up to date. It is the keeper’s responsibility to update the details and an offence if they fail to do so.

It is an offence to transfer a dog to a new keeper unless it is chipped.

Dogs certified by a vet as working dogs with docked tails do not have to be chipped unless they are older than 12 weeks.

If a dog is not chipped a notice can be served on the keeper requiring them to have a dog chipped within 21 days. Where a keeper fails to comply with a notice the council can, without the keeper’s consent, arrange for the dog to be chipped and recover the costs.

It is an offence to fail to comply with a notice, resulting in a fine of up to £500.