A year on from the introduction of compulsory microchipping of dogs, 95% of those in the UK comply with the law.
However, the charity Dogs Trust says that owners must keep details up to date so that dogs who are lost or stolen can be reunited with them. It also calls for more to be done to target owners who fail to microchip their pets.
Dogs Trust statistics show that over 43,000 strays were reunited with their owners in 2015-2016; a fifth of these as a direct result of a microchip. It warns that owners who don’t update their details risk being permanently separated from their pet, as one in eight of the 37,000 stray and abandoned dogs that remained unclaimed in local authority kennels last year didn’t have up-to-date microchip details.
“This equates to 12 dogs every day that are at risk of being put to sleep, simply because owners had failed to update their details on the microchip database,” said a spokesman for the charity.
Over the past 12 months, local councils have issued 2,751 enforcement notices to owners since the legislation came into force – 1,464 for dogs that aren’t chipped and 1,287 for owners whose details are incorrect on the microchip database. The average fine issued to dog owners was £340, with the maximum penalty recorded as £500. It’s estimated that fines will total around £73,000 over the next five years.
The RSPCA says that while it welcomed compulsory microchipping, there are areas it does not address. It believes that dog licensing is the right way to go.
“A dog licensing scheme has the potential to generate money that could be used to help improve dog welfare and tackle the issues around irresponsible dog ownership,” said a spokesman.