What you need to know about getting your dog microchipped by April 6

Chris and George Rockingham from PACT have welcomed the new law. Picture: Denise Bradley

Chris and George Rockingham from PACT have welcomed the new law. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2013

From this week it will be compulsory for all dogs in England to be microchipped. Reporter DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP tells you what you need to know.

A Jack Russell terrier being scanned for a microchip at the Blue Cross Lewknor rehoming centre. Phot

A Jack Russell terrier being scanned for a microchip at the Blue Cross Lewknor rehoming centre. Photo: Martin Phelps/Blue Cross/PA Wire - Credit: PA

As of Wednesday it will be a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped in England.

It's a move which has been made in order to make it easier to identify the owners of dogs that have strayed, are being mistreated, neglected, abandoned or lost.

It also means they will be added to a central database listing every pooch in the UK.

George Rockingham, co-founder of PACT animal sanctuary based near Hingham, said it would be worth every penny to pet owners.

Darcy the Pug examining a dog microchip. New laws to ensure all dogs are microchipped will improve a

Darcy the Pug examining a dog microchip. New laws to ensure all dogs are microchipped will improve animal welfare and may help cut the number of strays. Photo: Geoff Caddick/PA Wire - Credit: PA

'This is a very good innovation which will make a considerable difference to the lives of people involved in stolen and stray dogs and of course cats,' he said.

'For some years now sensible people have been microchipping their dogs which is the best way of identification and it has been proved that it is perfectly safe for the dog, cat rabbit or equine.

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'Every vet and rescue centre has a scanner and can in a very short time and two phone calls are able to locate the owner of a stray if it is microchipped. At the present time this is particularly important to rescue centres like PACT as we are always full and seldom have a kennel free to house a stray even overnight so to find the owner quickly is essential.'

Not done it yet? Here's everything you need to know.

Why is microchipping a legal requirement?

Lost and stray dogs cost the taxpayer and charities £33m a year so a microchip makes it much easier to reunite a dog with its owner. The new law means microchips can also connect owners to abused pets so they can be held criminally liable and it will crackdown on the dog black market.

How does it work?

A tiny microchip about the size of a grain of rice is implanted under the dog's skin on the back of the neck in a painless procedure. This gives the dog a unique code to be scanned and matched to its keeper's contact details. The details are kept on a database. Every time the keeper changes their contact details, they will incur a fee.

Where do I get my dog microchipped?

It can be done by your vet and will usually cost between £20 and £30. Alternatively some charities, such as Dogs Trust, offer the service for free.

How will it be controlled?

The microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2014 will be enforced by local authorities, police constables, community support officers and any other person which the Secretary of State may authorise to act as an enforcer of the regulations.

How long does a keeper have?

All dogs must be microchipped and registered to an approved database by the time they are eight weeks old. If a dog is not microchipped its keeper will served with a notice requiring them to have the dog chipped within 21 days.? After this time they will be liable to pay a fine of £500.?

Are any dogs exempt?

A dog will be legally exempt from being microchipped only when a vet certifies that it cannot for health reasons. This needs to done on a form approved by the Secretary of State.?

Does a microchip act as a GPS tracker?

No. The microchip needs to be scanned by a hand held scanner and once the unique 15 digit number is read, the microchip database the keeper's chosen to store their details on will be contacted.

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