Welfare groups have praised the Government for its commitment to compulsory microchipping after regulations were laid out in Parliament.
The Kennel Club (KC) and Petlog have campaigned for compulsory microchipping since 2009 and legislation under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 means from April 6, 2016 microchipping will be mandatory for all dogs in England as follows:
- Every keeper of a dog that is older than eight weeks must ensure the dog is microchipped and registered with an approved microchipping database
- Any changes to a keeper’s details must be updated on an approved microchip database
- Where a dog is transferred to a new keeper, the new keeper must – unless the previous keeper had already done so – record their contact details on an approved microchip database
- No keeper may transfer a dog to a new keeper (this includes breeders) until it has been microchipped, unless a certificate from a veterinary surgeon has been issued regarding the dog’s health.
Anyone who does not have their dog microchipped after April 6, 2016 will have 21 days to have the dog microchipped and failure to do so may result in a fine of up to £500.
Under the new regulations it is also a requirement that the records must be kept up to date and failure to do so could lead to enforcement action, resulting in a fine for non-compliance.
Caroline Kisko, KC secretary, said: “The Kennel Club has always been dedicated to reuniting dogs with their owners through Petlog and through our campaign as part of the Microchipping Alliance to make permanent identification compulsory.
“The microchipping regulations will go a long way towards improving dog welfare by ensuring dog owners are more aware of their responsibilities, and that microchipping, as well as keeping contact details up to date, ensures speedy reunification of a missing dog with its owner.
“In addition, it will add traceability of where each dog has come from and, in turn, should assist with improving health and welfare issues such as puppy farming.”
Celia Walsom from Petlog commented: “We welcome the announcement of the new microchipping regulations. The regulations highlight the importance of dog owners ensuring they register their pet’s details to an approved database – not only because this is now a legal requirement, but also because it is in the interest of the welfare of their dogs to do so.
“With more than 12,000 lost and found telephone calls received by Petlog alone in one month, it is critical contact details are kept up to date – it is heartbreaking for all concerned when we cannot reunite lost pets with their owners.
“The regulations include provisions for everything from ensuring the quality of the microchip being to International Organisation for Standardisation standard, training requirements of implanters and responsibilities laid down for approved databases.
“We are very committed to ensuring this benefits all dog owners and, most importantly, improves the welfare of the millions of dogs in this country.”
Microchipping is already mandatory in Northern Ireland and will become compulsory in Wales in March 2015.