Dog owners are being urged to ensure their pets are microchipped ahead of the law changing next month.
From April 6, 2016, all dogs over eight weeks old must be microchipped and the details stored on the microchip database must be up to date.
Leeds City Council is calling on dog owners and breeders to ensure their dogs are chipped and to check correct details are registered with the appropriate microchip database. If not, the local authority has new powers to issue notices ordering owners to microchip their dogs.
Nichola Smith, dog warden, said: “Anyone who has looked at our Leeds found dogs Facebook page recently will see that we’re still picking up dogs that aren’t microchipped or if they are, we can’t contact their owners as the details are out of date. By making microchipping compulsory, hopefully owners will be encouraged to take action. If the worst should happen and a dog strays or is lost, we’ll be able to identify them and happily reunite them with their registered owner much more quickly.”
Leeds City Council will not be using the new enforcement powers for the first three months to give owners time to take action.
Any dogs wardens come into contact with in the grace period will be scanned for a microchip. If the dogs are not chipped the wardens will offer to arrange this. If the offer is declined, the new enforcement notice will be issued. If ignored, owners could face a £500 fine.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental protection and community safety, said: “It’s in the owners’ and dogs’ best interest if a dog is microchipped so I’d encourage anyone with a dog or thinking about getting a dog to make sure it is chipped and that they’ve registered the right details.
“After our initial grace period, people will have had fair warning and we will have to enforce the law.”