On the 6th April 2016 it became compulsory for dogs in England to be microchipped under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015. Failure to conform may result in the owner facing a fine of up to £500.
The Regulations have been made under the powers conferred by section 12 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Under regulations every keeper must ensure their dog is microchipped, providing the dog is aged over eight weeks and is not a certified working dog under the Act. This obligation doesn’t apply if a veterinary surgeon certifies that microchipping should not occur in a particular situation due to the animal’s health. The exception is also applicable in relation to imported dogs, nevertheless if no health reason exists, microchipping is obligatory within 30 days of being imported.
Certain details regarding the owner and dog are required to be registered onto an authorised database and kept up to date. Such mandatory details relating to the owner include their full name, current address and telephone number. The name, breed, sex, colour and most accurate estimate of the date of birth are some of the details needed regarding the dog. Breeders should be aware that puppies must be microchipped and the owner must be stated as the first registered keeper on the database before transferring ownership to another keeper. The keeper’s documents relating to the dog must be transferred to the new owner to enable the database to be updated sufficiently. It is hoped that the obligation for all dogs to be microchipped before they can be sold on and the risk of a fine of up to £500 for failure to comply with the regulations will promote compliance.
The local authority governing the area in which the dog is kept, can authorise police constables and community support officers, as authorised persons, to act in accordance with enforcing these Regulations. Three stages of recourse are available. Firstly, for a dog which has not been microchipped, a notice can be served on the keeper requiring the owner to effect the microchipping within 21 days. Secondly, failure to comply with this notice will enable the authorised person to arrange for the microchipping without any need to obtain the owner’s consent. The cost of microchipping can also be recovered. Finally possession of the dog can result in order for it to be checked for a microchip or to enable it to be microchipped. The owner’s consent does not need obtaining for this process to occur.
The basis for this new law is to attempt to reduce the burden on the animal charities and local authorities and therefore reunite owners with their lost or stolen dogs. As each microchip has a unique number, the means of locating the owner through reference to the database will hopefully ensure less dogs are left unaccounted for. The 24 hour operational database allows the owner to be determined quickly and efficiently. This effectively creates a streamlined process for determining ownership. If you have any questions on this topic, please contact Tej Thakkar .
Note: The content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken in any particular circumstance.