An initial grace period to allow owners to get their dog microchipped after a change in the law is drawing to a close.
As of April 6 this year it became mandatory for all dogs over eight weeks old to be microchipped and the details stored on the microchip database up to date.
Councils will start enforcing its new legal powers from July 1 to ensure people to get their dogs chipped.
The three month grace period was to allow owners to take appropriate action.
All dogs the council’s dog wardens come into contact with are scanned for a microchip. From July 1, if any of these dogs aren’t microchipped, wardens will offer to arrange this for owners.
If this offer is declined, a new enforcement notice will be issued. This legal notice instructs owners to have their dog chipped within 21 days.
If dogs still aren’t chipped after this period owners face prosecution. If convicted, the maximum fine is £500.
The new law also gives the council powers to take dogs from owners to microchip them and pass on any costs to the owners.
Dog wardens have been working with the Dogs Trust for some time to offer microchipping. In the last three months dog wardens have microchipped 300 dogs free of charge at community events. Vets can also microchip dogs.
Gavin Jarrett, dog warden said: “We want to reassure people that they aren’t going to be hit with an automatic £500 fine if their dog isn’t microchipped now.
“If people point blank refuse to get their dog chipped that’s when we’ll be issuing the legal notices. Failing to comply with the notice could then result in prosecution.
“We think the costs and benefits of microchipping far outweigh a potential £500 fine and a criminal conviction so we’d really encourage people to do the right thing.
“If people need any information about microchipping or where to get it done, they can contact us for advice.”
Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are inserted into the loose skin between a dog’s shoulderblades with a sterile needle. Implanting the chip will feel like a standard injection for a vaccination.
Owners can contact the dog warden service for advice about microchipping on 0113 222 4406.
Compulsory microchipping and ensuring details are up to date will help ensure stray, lost or stolen dogs can be identified and reunited with their owners.
All puppies over eight weeks old must now be chipped so they can be traced back to their breeder.
If selling your dog or giving it to a new owner, the dog must be microchipped before you do so. It’s up to the new owner to ensure their contact details are registered.