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Dog owners warned of changes to the law

Published: 01/04/2016
Dogs running

From Wednesday, April 6 2016 dog owners will need to ensure their dogs are microchipped or face a fine.

All dogs over the age of eight weeks old will be required by law to have an up-to-date microchip.

Getting your pet microchipped usually costs around £15 to £20, and it is hoped making it compulsory will help reunite owners with lost or stolen pets while relieving some of the burden on animal charities and local authorities.

National figures show more than 100,000 dogs are dumped or lost each year, costing the taxpayer and charities £57 million.

Thanks to microchips – and also something as simple as having a collar and tag – City of Lincoln Council was able to reunite 94 lost dogs with their owners last year.

Other benefits include:

  • All puppies are traceable to their breeder, helping reduce the problem of puppy farming and lessening the incidence of infectious disease and inherited defects from which many of these dogs suffer
  • Deterrent to dog theft
  • Easier identification and subsequent arrests of owners culpable of animal cruelty
  • Enables veterinary surgeons to contact dog owners for emergency procedures
  • Allows identification of dogs in properties in emergency situations so that dogs and owners can be moved and reunited more quickly

Sam Barstow, Service Manager for Public Protection and Anti-Social Behaviour at the city council, said: “We welcome changes to the law in relation to responsible dog ownership. Our neighbourhood management teams, together with the PDSA (Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals) have been working hard over the last couple of years to raise awareness and help people comply by offering microchipping in our local communities.

“The council was called to almost 300 stray dogs last year and, while we do often find chips in dogs, they are very regularly out of date.

“It’s important that people understand an out of date chip could land you in the same trouble as no chip at all, and make it even harder for you to be reunited with your pet, so make sure you update the chip with your most recent details. Don’t forget it’s still a legal requirement for your dog to wear a collar and tag when out in public.”

Where dogs are identified without a microchip, or a chip with incorrect details, owners will be given 21 days to rectify this. Failure to do so could lead to a fine of up to £500, or even having your dog taken and the cost of microchipping charged back to you.

You can microchip your pet at the vet, who can also scan existing microchips to check the details are up-to-date.

The Dogs Trust also offer a microchipping service. You can find out details of events running in the area at www.chipmydog.org.uk.

What is a microchip?

Microchips are a tiny implant about the size of a grain of rice that stores your details on an electronic database, making it much easier to reunite you with your dog should he/she ever get lost. 

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