Over a million U.K. dog owners face a £500 fine if their dogs aren’t microchipped by April 6, following the introduction of a new law requiring all dogs to have a chip inserted under their skin.
According to a study by pet insurers Animal Friends, 26 percent of dog owners have at least one dog who isn’t registered on a government-approved database and up to 12 percent of owners don’t actually know whether their dog is microchipped.
People have various reasons for not microchipping their dogs: their dogs never leave their sides, their dogs always wear collars, or they have concerns about the data security aspect of microchipping.
Since the technology for microchipping pets was introduced 20 years ago it has been voluntary. However The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2014 order that, from April 2016, all dog owners in England and Wales must have their animals microchipped with their details on a reunification database.
It’s estimated that it costs £57 million a year to deal with the dogs who need to be “kennelled, rehomed or put down because their keepers cannot be traced.”
What do you need to know about microchipping your dog?
- All dogs over eight weeks old must be microchipped.
- Microchipping does not hurt the pet: no anaesthetic is required and the procedure should cause no more discomfort than a standard vaccination.
- Dog owners can choose from seven approved databases run by commercial operators to register their microchipped dogs.
- The chipping can be carried out for free at the Dogs Trust, Blue Cross centres and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Some vets and local councils will also provide the service for free.
- Microchipping will not be proof of “ownership.” The words “owner” and “ownership” have been replaced by the words “keeper” and “keepership” in the new regulations to reflect this.
- The database details, such as a change of address, telephone number etc., must be kept up to date. The database operators will charge for this and any owners failing to comply will be liable for a £500 fine.
- The microchip does not act as a GPS device — it needs to be scanned by a handheld scanner. Once the unique 15 digit number is read the database that you have chosen to store your details on will be contacted.
For more information on microchipping your dog visit the Dogs Trust.