Increase in microchipping in Yarmouth area ahead of law making it compulsory next month

A dog walker on a snow covered lowestoft beach.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

A dog walker on a snow covered lowestoft beach.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Dog owners will be forced by law to microchip their pets from next month.

On April 6 all dogs aged eight weeks and over in England will be legally required to have a microchip.

Veterinary clinics in and around Great Yarmouth have seen an increase in the numbers of people getting their pets chipped, but have said there were still lots which were without them.

Marlon Barnes, a resident nurse at Anchorage Veterinary Hospital in Acle, said: 'Quite a few people have come in to enquire about it recently. They seem to have become more aware as we get closer to the date.

'It is a very quick procedure. It depends on the temperament of the dog but sometimes they do not even notice it happening.'

Mr Barnes said there were posters displayed throughout the practice to inform dog owners about the change in the law.

Robert Livie, a vet and director at Haven Vets in Yarmouth, said: 'We have had a little bit of growth in the last couple of months. In January and February the numbers in increased by about 50pc.

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'Mircochipping helps reunite lost pets with their owners. Looking at the less pleasant side, they can also help identify a dead animal.'

He added that the emphasis on dogs could also be a good time to remind cat owners to get their pets microchipped, it can also help identify missing cats which are found.

Each microchip has a unique 15-digit code which can be read through a special scanner. They are about the same size as a grain of rice.

It is injected under the skin at the scruff of a dog's neck.

The procedure costs around £10-£30, with many charities and animal shelters offering to carry it out for free.

Nationally 83pc of dog owners have had their pets microchipped and the details are then put on a UK-wide database.

Animal welfare minister, George Eustice, said: 'We are a nation of dog lovers and we want to make sure they stay safe. Microchipping our dogs 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.

'Microchipping is vital for good dog welfare and a simple solution for responsible pet owners to provide peace of mind and ensure your much-loved dog can be traced.'

The new law has been championed by animal charity the Dogs Trust.

Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust veterinary director said: 'We have long campaigned to make microchipping compulsory.

'Losing a dog is an extremely upsetting time for both dogs and their owners and microchipping increases the likelihood that a dog will be reunited with their owner in the event they are lost, making it an essential part of animal welfare law in England.

'In 2015, 47,596 unclaimed and unwanted dogs were left in council kennels across the UK as these dogs could not be reunited with their owners.

'Stray dogs that find themselves at Dogs Trust are the lucky ones, as we will care for a dog for its entire life if needed.'

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