New rules come into force on the 6th April 2016 which require that all dogs in England are micro-chipped. Here is our guide to the new rules.
Which dogs do the new rules apply to?
The new rules apply to all dogs in England which are more than eight weeks old. If a dog is imported into England the dog must be micro-chipped within 30 days of its arrival in England.
There are two exceptions:
- If the dog is a certified working dog – this applies where a veterinary surgeon has certified that the dog is more than five days old and is likely to be used for the purposes of law enforcement, by HM Armed Forces, for the purposes of emergency rescue, lawful pest control or the lawful shooting of animals and the dog is a specified type of dog.
- If a veterinary surgeon has certified on an approved form that the dog should not be micro-chipped for animal health reasons.
Who can microchip a dog?
Only veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and people who have undertaken approved training can implant a micro-chip in a dog. Some vets and charities have been offering a free service to ensure dog owners comply with the rules but a fee for the chip and registration will usually apply.
Who keeps the details?
There are four organisations which are authorised to maintain the UK database. They are:
What details are kept?
All the databases are required to hold the following details:
- The name and address and telephone number of the keeper;
- The name of the dog or any identification number;
- The sex of the dog;
- The breed of the dog or a description of it if it is a mongrel;
- The colour of the dog;
- The date of birth of the dog or the best estimate that the keeper can give;
- The number of the microchip.
Where the dog is registered by a breeder the database will also record the name of the breeder and their licence number, if they have one.
My dogs chipped, but my details are not up to date. What should I do?
I know who holds the details – If you know the number of the chip and the organisation that holds your dogs details you should contact the database company and update your details. You may be able to this on line if you have your original certificate.
I don’t know the chip number – Details if the chip number will have been included with your original certificate. If you do not have that any veterinary surgeon and most animal charities will have a chip reader and will be able to read the chip and give you the number.
I know my dog’s chip number, but I don’t know who it is registered with. – If you know the chip number you can check who holds the details by entering the number at http://www.check-a-chip.co.uk
What happens if there is a change in keeper?
The rules require the dog to be micro-chipped before it is transferred to a new keeper unless a veterinary surgeon has issued a certificate exempting the dog from micro-chipping. Once the dog is transferred the new keeper must update the database.
Who is going to enforce these regulations?
Primary responsibility for enforcing the new rules rests with the local authority who may authorise its officers to enforce these regulations. Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers can also enforce the rules.
How are these regulations going to be enforced?
It is an offence for a person to sell or transfer a dog without a microchip. That offence can only be tried in a magistrates’ court and is punishable by way of a fine.
Authorised local authority officers, Police Community Support Officers and Police Constables may take take control of a dog without consent to check if it is micro-chipped.
- If a dog is not micro-chipped the authorised officer may serve a notice on the keeper requiring them to have the dog micro-chipped within 21 days.
- It is an offence to fail to comply with such a notice which can only be tried in a magistrates’ court and is punishable by way of a fine.
- Additionally, if the keeper of the dog has not micro-chipped the dog in accordance with a notice the dog may be seized without consent, micro-chipped and the cost of micro-chipping may be recovered from the keeper of the dog.
There are other offences which relate to the database providers and those implanting micro-chips which we have not reviewed.
If you need any further advice please call Parry Welch Lacey LLP on 0151 480 4061. First consultations are free and legal aid may be available.