What the new Dog Microchipping law will mean to all those of us who Live with dogs.
From 6 April 2016 all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales will be legally required to be microchipped and their details registered on one of the authorised databases. Northern Ireland has already introduced this measure.
Puppies must be chipped at their second set of vaccinations – and around the time they are weaned – at 8 plus weeks.
The idea behind this move, the Microchipping Alliance, a group which includes the British Veterinary Association, the Kennel Club, the Dogs Trust
and the RSPCA, is to encourage all dog owners to take responsibility for keeping their pet.
Under the law you are obliged to keep your details up to date on the database. This will be enforced by the police and local dog wardens. A time window will be allowed for the owner to get the chipping done if their pet is caught without a chip. After which a £500 fine for failing to comply will be issued. Full details of the change to the law will emerge over the next few months. If you sell or otherwise pass the dog on, you as the previous keeper are required to register the new keeper. Similarly if your dog dies, you must inform the database that holds your pet’s details.
Why is this needed?
Get your dog microchipped and have the assurance that should he become lost (or be stolen), he is more likely to be returned to you safe and sound.
Microchipping also has a number of other welfare benefits, including:
· All puppies are traceable to their breeder thereby helping reduce the problem of puppy farming and lessening the incidence of infectious disease and inherited defects from which many of these dogs suffer.
· Easier identification and subsequent arrests of owners culpable of animal cruelty.
· Enables veterinary surgeons to contact dog owners for emergency procedures.
· Dogs are stolen quite frequently and it is hoped that microchipping will help in ownership disputes and quicken the process of reuniting those dogs with their real owners.
Even if everyone got their dogs chipped, microchipping is also only as efficient as the people who use it. Shockingly the National Dog Warden Association advises that around 40% of dogs it deals with that are already chipped have missing or inaccurate information. People must be encouraged and reminded to keep their details up to date to give this law some force to do what it is intended for.
So this is not a cure all and it will not be perfect, but it is a step in the right direction in encouraging all of us as a society to care for our dogs correctly and responsibly.