Monday, March 28, 2016

UK Mandates Canine Micro-Chipping; Penalties up to $750

At first I thought this was an April Fool. But, on the other side of the Pond, our British cousins are taking No Lost Dogs to a whole new level.  Mandatory micro-chipping becomes law on April 6, 2016  Fines up to $750 will be enforced by police and/or city employees.   The British parliament concluded the micro-chipping  is both humane and cost effective.  Of course, given Americans' natural distaste for anything "mandatory," and instinctive aversion to tracking technology in general, its difficult to imagine a federal mandate. But surely we cant be too far away from some progressive town or county from taking the plunge!

Here's the full story from Britain's Daily Mirror

Dog microchipping becomes compulsory next week - everything animal owners need to know

The new law creating a national canine database comes into force on April 6 but an estimated 1.4 million of the UK's 9m dogs are yet to be chipped

It was once enough to have your dog’s name engraved on its collar.

Not any more. From next week all pet pooches have to be microchipped .

The new law, which comes into force on April 6, will create a central database listing every dog in the UK.

There are an estimated 9  million dogs in the UK, with up to 1.4million yet to be microchipped.

If you have not yet had your pet chipped, here is everything you need to know...

What does a microchip do?
The sterile microchip is roughly the size of a grain of rice and is implanted just under your dog’s skin between its shoulder blades.

Each chip contains a unique identification number that is listed on a national database which holds all the owner’s contact details such as their address and phone number.

If a dog is lost or dumped, a warden will be able to scan the chip and find the owner’s details immediately.

Lee Paris, campaigns manager at charity the Dogs Trust, says: “Having a dog microchipped should give owners peace of mind, because all dogs have the capacity to escape, no matter how responsible the owner is. This will make it much easier to reunite worried owners with their pets.”

Microchips have been a legal requirement in Northern Ireland since 2012, now England, Scotland and Wales are set to follow suit.

Why are microchips a legal requirement?
Nearly 120,000 dogs are dumped or lost each year and less than half of those are reunited with their owners.

That leaves local councils and animal welfare charities facing a £57 million bill to care for and re-home these unfortunate animals. And nearly 7,000 dogs have to be put down each year because no-one can care for them.

Lee says: “The Dogs Trust and other charities are full to the brim. If we can’t take a dog from a local authority after seven days, they have to be put to sleep.

Read more : Dog owner sues family who found and decided to KEEP her missing pedigree pooch

“The microchips could make a huge difference. If local councils can trace the owners within a day, it means we can focus on re-homing dogs that people are genuinely unable to care for any longer and are handed over responsibly.”

Microchipping will also combat the black market in stolen dogs, which is worth more than £100,000 a year in the UK. And it will help police prosecute the owners of dangerous dogs and make things harder for traffickers smuggling dogs into the country and bypassing strict quarantine laws.

Chips are the size of a grain of rice.

What if I don’t get my dog microchipped by April 6?
You will be breaking the law. If you are stopped by a council or police officer and they discover your dog is not chipped you will be given an enforcement notice, giving you 21 days to comply with the law.

Fail to do so and you face a fine of up to £500. ($750)

Lee says: “You can’t drive without a licence and it will be a similar situation for dog owners. It will be your responsibility to make sure your pet is microchipped. ”

How can I get my dog microchipped?
Any vet will be able to do it. They normally charge £20 to £30. Local authorities can also fit a chip. Some do this for free, others charge a small fee.

The Dogs Trust has volunteered to fit microchips at its re-homing centres and community events before April 6.

The charity has now fitted nearly a million microchips, most since the new law was announced three years ago.

Lee says: “This month has definitely been the busiest we have seen for chipping pets as a lot of people have left it late to comply with the new law.

“We have a website with an interactive map to help people finding their nearest re-homing centre or community event.”

What impact will it have on my dog?
Some dogs who are nervous about visiting the vet may get a little stressed, but having a microchip implanted does not hurt.

It is no different to having an injection. Vets are used to chipping much smaller animals than dogs, but if you do have a small breed and are concerned, you can opt for a mini microchip.

Lee says: “I’m a squeamish person, but I’ve seen lots of dogs microchipped and most of them don’t even realise it has happened. It only takes a few seconds and the dogs are ready to go.”

Will my dog be microchipped when I get it from a breeder or re-homing centre?
The law requires every dog over eight weeks-old to be fitted with a microchip. Re-homing centres will chip a dog before finding it a new owner.

Breeders should too, as the law says the first registered owner for all dogs should be the breeder.

This will help prospective pet owners to find out whether the dog they are buying has come from an illegal puppy farm in this country or overseas.

Lee says: “There are lots of things people should do when buying a puppy.

“Buy from a Kennel Club registered breeder and ask to see the dog with its parents.

“But microchipping is something else they can ask about. If the dog they are buying isn’t chipped, they need to ask themselves whether something isn’t quite right.”

Reading a canine microchip

How often will my dog have to be microchipped?
Your dog only needs to be microchipped once as the chip will last its whole life. You just need to contact your database and tell them when you move home or change your phone number.

If you fail to keep those details up to date you face a £500 fine.

Lee says: “If you don’t update those details the microchip is completely useless.”

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