As part of secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the government introduced compulsory microchipping of all dogs from 6 April 2016. From this date all dogs in England must be chipped and registered to an authorised database by the age of eight weeks and before transfer to a new keeper.
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If you are the keeper of a dog in England you must:
- Ensure your dog is chipped and registered to an authorised database
- If you get a new dog it must be chipped before you become its keeper
- Ensure any dogs you keep are chipped by the age of eight weeks
- Keep your contact details up to date on the microchip database
You can get a dog microchipped by a vet, or many animal re-homing centres also provide this service. The Kennel Club provide a searchable database of implanters in the area, but this list is not exhaustive. Dogs Trust provide some useful information about the microchipping process.
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If a dog is not chipped
A notice will be served on the keeper requiring the dog to be implanted with a chip within 21 days. If this is ignored then a fine of up to £500 can be issued or the dog can be seized by an authorised person and be microchipped at the owner's expense.
If a dog is passed to a new keeper
The microchip details will need to be updated on the database. Either the new or previous keeper can update details, and it is recommended that the previous keeper obtains details of the new keeper to ensure details have been updated correctly. Once the database has been updated with the new keeper's details, this will ensure the previous keeper cannot be held responsible for any problems caused under the new keeper's ownership.
Further details about the new regulation can be found on the gov.uk website.
Q. Now it is law that dogs have to be microchipped do they still have to wear a collar and tag in public?
A. Yes this is a requirement of law and there are no plans for this to change. A tag should display the name and address of the keeper. This information may result in a keeper having their dog returned quicker as it does not rely on getting access to a microchip scanner and database.
Q. My dog has been implanted with a chip and I have the paperwork but the chip cannot be found when my dog is scanned. What should I do?
A. Your dog will need to be chipped again. The person implanting the new microchip will take details of the previous implant, this will be recorded and used to identify and remedy any issues around manufacture or implant.
Q. My dog has a microchip but it has the wrong details on it, what do I do?
A. You will need to contact one of the companies that stores microchip details. You will need to provide them with the microchip number along with the new details. A vet, some pet shops and grooming parlours will be able to scan your dog and get the chip number for you. There may be a charge to amend the microchip details on the database.
Q. Where can I get my dog microchipped?
A. Vets, some animal charities, some grooming parlours. An Internet search will return results of providers of this service in the local area. Charges vary from place to place. Some places offer the service free of charge.
Q. How safe is the information in the chip, can someone get hold of all my personal details?
A. The only information held in the microchip is a number. A microchip scanner will read that number. The only persons that can access the database to view the information attached to that number have to be registered and authorised before any such information is released to them.
Q. I am getting a puppy soon, is it my responsibility to get it chipped?
A. The animal should be chipped by the age of eight weeks unless a certificate is issued by a veterinarian stating the reasons why it could not be implanted. The dog should be chipped before it is handed to you as the new keeper, therefore just requiring an amendment of keeper details on a database.