Under a new law, from 6 April 2016 all dogs must be microchipped.

The new law states that all dogs, over the age of eight weeks, will be required to have been implanted with a working microchip and that up to date contact details of their owners are available on a registered database.

If the microchip and contact details are not in place dog owners could face a fine of up to £500!

The change in law has been put in place to try and reduce the number of stray dogs that cannot be reunited with their owners due to there being no way of identifying who the dog belongs to. It is already a legal requirement to make sure that a dog is wearing a collar and ID tag when in a public place, which includes if it strays from a private property and onto public land.

The council has a statutory duty to deal with stray dogs and wants to ensure they are returned to their owners as quickly as possible, but getting them back is made more difficult when there are no current contact details available. Dogs can get loose, but the time, effort and expense caused by one stray dog, can be minimised if it is microchipped and is wearing a collar and ID tag.

This new legislation requires owners to keep contact details up to date with the microchip company, or face a fine. If you are moving home, sell your dog or give them to someone else, don’t forget to update the details on the database.

Running up to the new legislation being introduced, some veterinary practices around the country have been offering free or reduced cost microchipping. Check with your local vet to find out more about this as they may have special offers available.

Under the new laws, there are also penalties if someone who is not authorised by a qualified vet tries to implant a microchip. Database companies will also be penalised if they fail to update and keep accurate records. The full legislation can be read online under The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 and can be found here: www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2015/9780111125243

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