One year on from the introduction of the Compulsory Microchipping Law, 97% of dogs in the South-East are now fitted with a microchip, meaning they can be reunited with their families if they are lost or stolen.
However, it’s estimated that 40,000 dog owners in the South-East are breaking the law, according to the Dogs Trust.
And on the anniversary of the law being introduced, owners are being urged to microchip their dog if they haven’t already and keep the details up to date.
Dogs Trust statistics show that 4,293 strays were reunited with their owners in 2015-2016; 23% of these as a direct result of a microchip, proving just how important microchipping is in ensuring lost dogs are swiftly reunited with their owners.
Owners who don’t update their details, though, risk the very real possibility of being permanently separated from their beloved family pet.
Ten per cent of the 3,425 stray and abandoned dogs that remained unclaimed in local authority kennels in the South-East last year, couldn’t be reunited with their owners simply because they didn’t have up-to-date microchip details.
The Dogs Trust says that while more needs to be done to target the minority of dog owners falling foul of the law, the legislation has overall been a positive influence over the past 12 months.
Local councils across the UK have issued 2,751 enforcement notices to owners since the legislation came into force – 1,464 for dogs that aren’t chipped and 1,287 for owners whose details are incorrect on the microchip database. The average fine issued to dog owners was £340, with the maximum penalty recorded as £500.
It’s estimated that fines will total around £73,000 over the next five years.
Alex Jackson, Head of Campaigns at Dogs Trust commented: “Whilst we will continue to work hard to make sure the remaining 3% of dog owners in the South-East get their dog chipped, we are pleased that the law is working well across the UK, with 95% of the nation’s dogs now chipped. A good proportion of local councils are issuing notices to people who have not microchipped their dogs or updated their details, so we hope to see the total number of people complying with the law increase significantly over the next few years.”
“It’s essential that in addition to getting their dogs microchipped, the details on the database are up-to-date, to ensure they have the best possible chance of being reunited with their pet should they become lost. It’s also a legal requirement for dogs to wear a collar and tag displaying the owner’s name and address when out in public. Our #doggyreunion campaign aims to educate owners about the importance of these simple acts, which can make all the difference when it comes to being reunited with your dog, should they become lost.”
The Trust says it has noticed a growing number of breeders either not microchipping their puppies at aged eight weeks, or not registering their details on the microchip database, which is compulsory by law. Unsuspecting buyers are then getting their new puppies microchipped, not realising that they should already have a chip inserted and be registered to their breeder in order to ensure total traceability.
Alex continued: “It’s not just owners that need to be mindful of the law, breeders and potential buyers of puppies must ensure they comply with the legislation, which states that all puppies over the age of 8 weeks should be microchipped and registered to their breeder. We encourage anyone buying a puppy to ensure they are aware of the requirements.”