Lost and stray dogs cost the taxpayer and welfare charities £33 million per year. A microchip makes it much easier to reunite a dog with its owner.
Microchipping will reduce the burden on animal charities and local authorities and help protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible dog ownership.
Under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 – new laws that we made in February 2015 – it will be compulsory for all dogs over the age of 8 weeks in England to be fitted with microchips from 6 April 2016.
Dogs will need to be microchipped and registered with their keepers’ contact details. All keepers, including breeders, must keep these details up to date. The only exemption from the requirement is where a vet has certified in writing that a dog is unfit to be microchipped.
Before the new requirements come into effect, pet owners or keepers can get their dogs microchipped free of charge in a number of places. Many vets also offer free microchipping as do other animal welfare organisations and some local authorities.
Once the new rules come into effect, if a dog without a microchip comes to the attention of the authorities, its 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 with the notice.
Anyone breeding dogs will be responsible for microchipping their puppies before they sell or give them to new keepers. All imported dogs will need to have a microchip. Breeders will be required to register their own details and these will be recorded against the microchip for the life of the dog.