BUYING DOG MICROCHIPS: Owners and breeders need to know about the new microchipping laws. Having dogs microchipped and registered is now compulsory.
Failing to comply with the new microchip regulations could cost you a visit to a court and a fine of up to £500.
Buying dog microchips has been a legal requirement in Northern Ireland since 2012. It has has taken a few more years for England, Scotland and Wales to follow suit.
The purpose of the new law is to create a national canine database. Thus, dogs can get identified when their microchips get scanned.
The United Kingdom is home to almost 9 million canines and yet around 1.5 million dogs still need to get chipped. Gone are the days of a simple leather collar with your dog’s name engraved on it.
New dog microchipping legislation started to bite from April 2016. All pet pooches must now get microchipped.
How Dog Microchips Work
Microchips are sterile implants which are about the same size as a grain of rice. The chip is a surgical implant made with a special hypodermic needle. It gets placed under the dog’s skin and between its shoulder blades.
Every microchip has a unique identification number. The number is listed on a national database of canines in the United Kingdom.
This means all the owner’s contact details (including address and phone number) gets stored in the collected data. A warden can scan the microchip and try to locate the owner if a dog gets lost or dumped. A spokesman from the charity ‘Dogs Trust’ said:
“Microchipping your dog should give you peace of mind. All dogs have the capacity to escape, no matter how responsible their owner is. This will make it much easier to reunite worried owners with their pets.”
Why is Microchipping a Legal Requirement?
There is one principle reason why dog microchipping is now a legal requirement. Well over 100,000 canines are either dumped or lost each year.
It is a sad fact, but figures suggest only around 50% actually get reunited with their owners.
The result means local councils and animal welfare charities face annual rising costs. They need money to fund caring for, and re-homing, these unfortunate animals.
Reports suggest that this expense is more than £50 million.
Even worse is that some dogs (around 7,000 per year) get put down because no-one is able to care for them. In most cases this happens after seven days if a dog can’t get relocated by the local authority.
Stolen Dogs Black Market
The black market in stolen dogs is estimated to be worth over £100,000 a year in the United Kingdom. The new microchipping laws for dogs will help combat the black market problem.
Failing to get Your Dog Microchipped
If a council representative or police officer discovers your dog is not chipped, you are breaking the law. You will receive an enforcement notice which gives you 21 days to comply with the law. Compliance failure means you face a fine of up to £500.
Breeders and Re-homing Centers
Dog microchipping legislation requires every dog over eight weeks-old to be fitted with a microchip. That means all re-homing centers will chip a dog before finding it a new owner.
The law also applies to dog breeders. It states that the first registered owner for all dogs should be the breeder. This helps prospective pet owners determine whether the dog they are buying comes from an illegal puppy farm in this country (or from overseas).
Advice for dog lovers when buying a puppy:
- Buy from a Kennel Club registered breeder.
- Ask to see the dog with its natural parents.
- Determine whether the dog you want to buy is already chipped.
- Something is not right if the dog is not microchippped.
How Often Do Dogs Need Microchipping?
Microchipping a dog lasts a lifetime so it only needs to chipping once. You should inform the database if you move home or change your contact details (e.g. phone number). Otherwise the microchip is completely useless. Failing to keep your contact details up to date could cost you a £500 fine.
Note: Another section explains how to get your dog microchipped, when you need to get it done, and how to update details on the registered database (e.g. if you change your address).
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