Thousands of dog owners in Yorkshire are breaking the law – by failing to microchip their mutts.
Figures from charity the Dogs Trust show that a year after the introduction of compulsory microchipping, 88% of dogs in Yorkshire and Humber are now fitted with a microchip, meaning they can be reunited with their families if they are lost or stolen.
However, 88,000 owners in the region who haven’t yet microchipped their dogs are being urged to do so – and keep the details up to date to ensure they can be reunited should their pet become lost.
Dogs Trust said 3,758 strays were reunited with their owners in 2015-2016 – over 16% of these as a direct result of a microchip. However, one in 10 of the 4,130 stray and abandoned dogs unclaimed in local authority kennels in the region last year couldn’t be reunited with their owners simply because they didn’t have up-to-date microchip details.
Local councils across the UK have issued 2,751 enforcement notices to owners since the law came into force – 1,464 for dogs that aren’t chipped and 1,287 for owners whose details are incorrect on the microchip database. The average fine issued to dog owners was £340 with the maximum penalty recorded as £500. It’s estimated that fines will total about £73,000 over the next five years.
The law states that all dogs over the age of eight weeks must be microchipped.
Under the Control of Dogs Order 1992, all dogs must wear a collar and identity tag in a public place. The tag must show the owner’s name and address.
Anyone breeding a puppy for sale, is required to microchip the dog at the age of eight weeks and register their details to the microchip before the sale. The owner of the puppy must then update the details on the database once they take ownership. Anyone buying a puppy should be aware that the puppy should be microchipped and the microchip should be registered to the breeder.
Alex Jackson, head of campaigns at Dogs Trust, said: “We are pleased that the law is working well across the UK with 95% of the nation’s dogs now chipped. A good proportion of local councils are issuing notices to people who have not microchipped their dogs or updated their details, so we hope to see the total number of people complying with the law increase significantly over the next few years.”