Any dog owner in England cannot fail to have noticed that by 6th April 2016, by law their dog must be micro-chipped. There are many reasons why this has been introduced from encouraging better dog ownership, to helping re-unite lost or stolen dogs with their owner.
What does the law say?
All dog owners in England, Scotland and Wales have until 6 April 2016 to have their dog microchipped and to register them with a government compliant microchip database such as Petlog. After that date, all puppies must be microchipped and recorded on a microchip database by the time they are 8 weeks old. Failure to comply can lead to a fine of up to £500.
What happens when your Dog is microchipped?
Each microchip that is used on a dog, is given a unique number, the details of which will be added to one of the registered databases that meets government standards, together with your contact details. Whenever your dog’s chip is scanned, this number will show up, allowing your dog to be identified and reunited with you more easily, if he is stolen or lost.
Any changes to an owner’s contact details must be updated on their microchip database to ensure compliance with the law. If a dog owner subsequently moves, changes contact telephone number, etc. then the dog is no longer considered microchipped under the new law and enforcement can be taken.
Nearly 120,000 dogs are dumped or lost each year and less than half of those are reunited with their owners because they are micro-chipped. That leaves local councils and animal welfare charities facing a £57million bill to care for and re-home these unfortunate animals. And nearly 7,000 dogs have to be put down each year because no-one can care for them.
What to check for if you are buying a dog
One of your first checks when buying a new pooch, should be to request proof from the current owner, that the dog has a microchip fitted. Any of the following should have the number documented:
- The dog’s Pet Passport
- Microchip registration certificate
- Records from the Vet
- If the dog is insured, the details may be logged on the insurance documents
Reuniting lost dogs – the benefits of an I.D tag
It is also compulsory by law for your dog to wear an I.D tag.
The Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that- “Every dog while on a public highway or place of public resort must wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on it or a plate or badge attached to it.”
This is also one way of ensuring that your dog is reunited with you as quickly as possible, especially if they have wandered off when out walking. Certain groups of dogs are exempt from needing to wear an ID tag, including any dog registered with Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, a dog being used for sporting purposes, or tending sheep or cattle.
Tags on dog collars are nothing new and in fact are the law, however, here is why they are beneficial in addition to micro-chipping your dog:
- Visual – unlike chips, which are under the skin and can only be read with a specialist piece of equipment, tags are visible. In fact, most people who come across a stray or lost dog will look for a collar and for an engraved tag. In many cases, it was the information on the tag that quickly reunited dog and frantic owners.
- Basic, key information – anyone looking to reunite a lost dog with its owner need only one key valuable piece of information: a phone number. Simply calling the number, asking if they own a black poodle and is it lost is sufficient to reunite dog and owner.
- Easily changed – many dog owners who have had their pets chipped for some time, find that updating or modifying any information on the database is a more than a little time consuming. Lost passwords present a significant issue, as well as incurring a fee as high as £15 in some cases. Tags can be easily replaced with a new engraved tag available from pet shops or bought online.
- Fashionable – as the tag is so visible, it is possible to make a canine fashion statement with bright coloured tags, diamantes and so on. For many people, this is not to be underestimated.
Top Tip – to try and prevent dog theft it is advisable not to include the pets name on the tag
It’s your choice to add the dog’s name to the ID tag, but with the real danger of dog theft, and how easy it would be to deceive any new potential owners, if the thief knows the dog’s name and gets him to respond to his call, I would personally recommend that you don’t include the dog’s name on the ID tag.
From dog walkers in North London, to dog owners across the UK, the need to protect your dog is important. With dog thefts sadly on the rise, make sure you have every opportunity to be reunited with your dog should the worst happen – get them chipped AND tagged.