With microchipping becoming compulsory in England, Scotland and Wales from 6 April 2016, Imet with the Dogs Trust and its larger than life mascot ‘Dogcilla’ to raise awareness of changes to the law.
All dogs in England and Wales must now be microchipped by the time they are 8 weeks old. Any owner whose dog is found without a microchip has a short period of time to have them microchipped. Owners who do not comply with the law could face fines of up to £500.
A microchip is a very small electronic device, about the same size as a grain of rice, that is implanted under your pet’s skin. Every chip has a unique 15-digit number encased in a protective shell which is “read” using a special scanner. This protective shell helps to prevent the microchip from causing a reaction or moving around which can make it difficult to read.
Dogs, cats and rabbits can be microchipped. At the moment, the new law doesn’t cover cats but microchipping is also strongly recommended for felines – especially if your cat likes to roam.
Every year some 250,000 pets go missing. Microchipping greatly increases the chances of them being found – much better than a collar identification tag which can fall off, break or be removed. If a pet is stolen and recovered by the police or local authority, a microchip may be the only way to identify and contact the owner.
The number of stray dogs is already falling, with an estimated 102,363 stray dogs handled by local authorities in 2014, compared with 126,000 in 12, but there is more can be done. Compulsory microchipping is an important step and I am sure the vast majority of sensible dog owners will welcome it.