Lost or stray dogs will be reunited with their owners thanks to new microchipping laws which come into effect to improve dog welfare today.
Under the new measures all owners must ensure their dog is microchipped and their details are kept up to date. Not only will this mean the UK’s 8.5 million dogs can be returned to their owners more quickly if they wander too far from home, but it will also make it easier to track down the owners of dogs that carry out attacks on people.
Already over 86% of responsible dog owners have had their pets painlessly implanted with a microchip and their details updated on a national database. This is vital to reunite over 102,000 dogs which are picked up from our streets having strayed or been stolen every year.
We also expect local authorities and charities, which would otherwise feed, kennel and home dogs, to make £33 million in annual savings were these dogs microchipped and returned to owners.
Commenting on the new law which comes into effect today, Animal Welfare Minister George Eustice said:
Every responsible dog owner wants to know their pet is safe. Microchipping will not only reunite people with their lost or stolen pets, but also help to tackle the growing problem of strays roaming the streets and relieve the burden placed on animal charities and local authorities.
We are a nation of dog lovers and microchipping is crucial for both good dog welfare and to provide dog owners with peace of mind.
From today (6 April 2016) owners of dogs found by the police or local authorities not to have a microchip will have the benefits explained to them and be given a short period to comply with the microchipping law. If they do not, they could face a fine of up to £500.
Already 7.34 million dogs are microchipped in the UK. This is a 25% increase since we consulted on the law in 2012.
According to the latest regional statistics South East, East Midlands and North West dog owners are leading the pack in taking action to chip their dog, with over one million, 959,000 and almost 900,000 dogs chipped, respectively. In the South West over 717,000 have added their details, followed by 648,000 in the West Midlands and 510,000 in the North East. Busy Londoners are trailing behind with an estimated 485,000 dog details added.
Find out how to get your dog microchipped including how to get this done for free
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Read the background to the new microchipping laws