As of 6th April 2016, the law will change to make it compulsory for all UK dog owners to have their pooches microchipped. This is hoped to decrease the number of stray and stolen dogs in the UK, which currently stands at around 100,000 per year. But what exactly does microchipping entail for you and your pooch?
What is a microchip?
A microchip is a tiny implant (about the size of a grain of rice), which is inserted into the loose skin at the back of an animal’s neck. The procedure to insert a microchip is virtually painless for an animal, and can be done by a vet without the need for anaesthetic. Each chip contains a unique fifteen-digit code, which can be read by a scanner, and each code corresponds with an owner’s contact details, which can be easily updated to include a change in contact details. Microchips are most commonly used on dogs, but they are suitable for cats, rabbits, and even guinea pigs!
Why should I microchip my dog?
If your dog runs away or is lost, it will likely be picked up by your council’s dog warden and taken to the pound or a vet’s office to be identified. A microchip means that your dog will quickly be identified and returned to you. Dogs that aren’t microchipped will be taken to local kennels to stay for up to a week, something that costs the UK government a whopping £57 million per year. Around 50% of these pooches cannot be returned because their owners can’t be identified, and after 7 days in the kennels, they are moved onto rescue centres to be re-homed.
What does the new law mean?
As of April 6th, all dogs in the UK over the age of 8 weeks must be microchipped by law, and their owners’ details must be kept updated on the database. Owners who don’t comply could face a £500 fine. As well as helping out responsible owners to be reunited with missing dogs, the new law is also hoped to curb illegal and unethical treatment of dogs, such as dog fighting, stealing, and unregulated puppy farms.
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