On the 6th April 2016 it became a legal requirement for dog owners in the UK to make sure their animal is microchipped. As a nation of pet lovers, a great deal of those animals had already been chipped, either by a breeder or the owners themselves, but there were still a great deal lacking the proper identification. Owning a cat or dog extends beyond just ensuring that they are fed and sheltered, it is the owner’s responsibility to look after all of the pet’s needs and microchipping definitely comes under this remit. We want our animals to share in all of life’s adventures so making sure that they comply with legal requirements is part of that.

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So remind me, what is the microchipping law?

The microchipping law isn’t needless bureaucracy, in fact it’s the complete opposite. It’s in the interest of dog owners to make sure their animal has been microchipped. There are 8.5 million dogs in the UK* and the identification process means that they can be returned to loving owners in the event of theft or straying. 102,000 dogs are picked up from the streets every year*, so this could well be your pet.

How successful has the law been?

On the date the law came into practice, it was estimated that 86% of the country’s dogs had already been chipped*. In April 2017, a year on from the introduction, Alex Jackson, Head of Campaigns at Dogs Trust, said “We are pleased that the law is working well across the UK, with 95% of the nation’s dogs now chipped.” This is a great response in just over twelve months but it shouldn’t end there.

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What are the consequences if the law is ignored?

The law is in place to put the welfare of dogs above anything else. In that respect, the consequences are comparable to any other civil disobedience, with www.gov.uk warning that you can be fined up to £500 if your animal isn’t microchipped. In October 2016 a woman from Stockton was one of the first convicted under the new law, and was fined almost £400 by officials at Teesside Magistrates^.

Will it be painful for my dog or cat?

The procedure is actually painless. A minute microchip, no larger than a grain of rice, is injected under the skin, using a sterile syringe. This microchip is loaded with a unique reference number, which is then stored on a national database (as below). This means if your pet goes missing it can be easily scanned and identified.

UK Microchip Databases:

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Is that all I have to do?

No. It is your responsibility to make sure all address and contact details relating to your pet’s microchip are kept up to date. It is also compulsory for dogs to wear a collar with a tag detailing their owner’s name address whenever they are out in public. Failure to comply with either of these stipulations could result in conviction and fines of up to £500.

Whilst it is very important, looking after your dog or cat goes beyond just having them microchipped. If you do decide to take on and care for an animal, sharing your life and adventures with them, then you have to be prepared for the extra responsibility that comes with that. That means meeting their dietary and medical needs and looking after them in the event that something goes wrong. The Insurance Emporium offer flexible protection for dogs and cats, from five-weeks-old. With up to 30% discount available, stop by the Emporium today and find out more!

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Source: *©https://www.gov.uk/government/news/compulsory-dog-microchipping-comes-into-effect

Source: ^©http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/stockton-woman-among-first-fined-11980846

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