The deadline for compulsory microchipping of dogs in England is nearly upon us. Various newspapers are today citing a figure of more than 1 million dogs that have yet to be microchipped (roughly one eighth of the UK dog population). The National Dog Warden Association claims that 40% of the dogs with which its members deal that are already chipped have missing or inaccurate information.
The new law will oblige keepers to keep details up to date on their chosen database. This ensures that anyone who is in charge of a dog will be required to comply even if not the owner. Puppies must be chipped by their second set of vaccinations at 8 weeks; it is not advisable to chip a dog before it is 6 weeks old. Small chips can be implanted in toy breeds. Breeders must chip the dog before it is transferred to a new owner and must register as the first keeper. They can advise as to how to change the registration details or register the new owners in addition to their own details.
If a dog is found subsequently to be without a chip, the keeper may be served with a notice requiring the dog to be microchipped and may face criminal prosecution and a £500 fine if they do not comply. If this notice is ignored then an additional fine of up to £500 can be issued or an enforcer can seize the dog and microchip it at the keeper’s expense. In addition, if the breeder or subsequent keepers of the dog do not update the dog’s details on a database that is compliant with the regulations, then a notice may be served requiring the keeper to microchip the dog within 21 days of the served notice. If the dog is sold or given away, the previous keeper is required to register the new keeper. It is also obligatory to update the database when a dog dies. Full details can be found here.
All well and good.
What remains to be seen is if any of this will be policed. It seems likely that there might be a few people may be made examples of but that the majority of irresponsible back street breeders, puppy farmers and of course owners will carry on as normal. Watch this space.