If you have read our blog ‘Microchips are great, but they aren’t GPS trackers’, you will know that a microchip is not a tracker and vice versa. What we are also discovering here at Safer Pet HQ, is that pet owners are not registering their microchips, thinking that once it is implanted, that is job done – but in fact it is only the start.
It is a legal requirement as per The Microchipping for Dogs (England) 2015 Regulations, for all dogs to be microchipped by 8 weeks old. Owner details then need to be registered on a DEFRA secure database or owners face a £500 fine. By 2023, it will also be a legal requirement for cats to be chipped.
The great thing about a microchip is that it can be scanned, and the owner contacted so they can be reunited. This is one of the quickest ways to find your pet if the worst should happen. According to one dog warden, over 40% of the dogs they take in are not chipped! We wanted to find out more so we caught up with Tara Boswell, a Dog Warden with Croydon Council to find out more.
“We take in anywhere between 2 – 20 dogs a month and about 40% are not chipped. When they aren’t chipped, it makes our job a lot harder. When they come into our care, we always scan the dog, then contact the microchipping database for the owner details. The issue we have is that not only are so many not chipped, many of the chips are not even registered or the details are out of date!
If a dog is left in our care, and we can contact the owner the same-day, owners are only charged £50. If it is not reunited the same day, it is taken to kennels. This is where the costs rise. Kennels are £100 (reduced to £50 if microchip details are up to date) plus £15 per day the dog stays in the kennels. If we have heard nothing after 7 days, the dog becomes the property of the kennels, as per our statutory duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. If a dog is not reclaimed, they are normally rehomed or placed in a rescue.”
Dog wardens always try to reunite pets, plus they also look at ways to stop this from happening again. All unchipped, claimed dogs are offered microchipping, and advice on how to register on a DEFRA approved database. Tara has some great advice for keeping your dogs safe, “Avoid leaving your dog unsupervised in public. Ensure your garden is secured. If you are going to let your dog off their lead, make sure they have great recall. Vary your dog walking habits. Attach a tag and microchip your dog and keep the details updated, as per the law.”
Thank you to Tara Boswell for her insights, we have learnt a lot!
Safer Pet will continue to raise the profile of anything that can help support keeping animals safe.