New UK legislation states that all dogs must be microchipped by 2016

February 26th 2013

Last week the government passed legislation stating that all dogs must be micro chipped by April 2016.  It is hoped that by introducing this legislation that it will make owners more responsible for their dogs and cut down on the number of stray dogs in the UK.  It will help reunite many lost dogs and act as a deterrent to people thinking of abandoning their dog.

It’s estimated that the cost to the tax payer of lost or abandoned dogs is in the region of £57m each year and that over 100,000 dogs are lost or abandoned, 6,000 of these dogs are then put down each year because the owner cannot be traced or they cannot be rehomed.  

It is possible to have your dog microchipped at a vets for only £20-£30 and also for free at some dog charity centres such as The Dogs Trust.

The Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, said:

“It’s a shame that in a nation of dog lovers, thousands of dogs are roaming the streets or stuck in kennels because the owner cannot be tracked down. I am determined to put an end to this and ease the pressure on charities and councils to find new homes for these dogs.

“Microchipping is a simple solution that gives peace of mind to owners. It makes it easier to get their pet back if it strays and easier to trace if it’s stolen. The generous support of Dogs Trust will mean that this valuable service can be offered for free to pet owners across the country.”

It’s estimate that about 60% of the UKs dog population is currently microchipped but owners who do not have their dogs microchipped by April 2016 could face a fine of up to £500.

Under the same legislation Police have been given further powers over owners of dangerous dogs to ensure that prosecution can take place when incidents occur on private property, this has been received particularly well by postal workers. Homeowners, however will not be included under this legislation if their dog attacks a burglar or trespasser on their property.

Mr Paterson went on to say

“People like health and postal workers, who have to go on private property just to do their jobs, deserve protection under the law. By giving the police extra powers to clamp down on law-breakers, those responsible for the worst offences will be held to account regardless of where the attack takes place.”

By Lucy Purves