Dog owners face fine if pet isn’t microchipped

Dog on lead

Dog on lead - Credit: Getty Images

Changes to the law, which came into force on Wednesday, mean dog owners who have not microchipped their canines can now face fines of up to £50.

The change has been designed to encourage responsible ownership and to reduce the number of strays.

It will affect all dogs older than eight weeks of age in England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland introduced a similar law in 2012.

Local authorities and welfare charities spend around £57million-a-year on kennelling costs, with more than 50 per cent of stray dogs not being able to find their way home because their owners cannot be identified. This also means around 6,000 dogs have to be put down each year.

Despite a 70 per cent increase in the number of pets being microchipped in the last month, recent figures suggest there are still 1.16million dogs which are not. If all the owners were caught it would generate a whopping £580million.

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Peter Martin, of Sidmouth’s Jurassic Vets, said: “There is not a week which goes by where a stray cat or dog doesn’t come in and is returned to its owner because it is microchiped.

“It is an excellent idea for any pet – there is nothing to fear, it is just like an injection and normally lasts the pet’s lifetime.”

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Mr Martin added he would also like to remind owners who move house to keep their contact details up to date as well.

And, although it is not compulsory, he encouraged owners of cats and rabbits and even tortoises to microchip their pets too.

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