Hundreds of thousands of dog owners could be fined for failing to microchip their pets, it was revealed one day before a new law makes it compulsory.
Over one million dogs have not yet been microchipped, more than one in eight dogs out of the UK’s estimated canine population, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.
From today, dog owners must make sure their pet is fitted with a microchip by the time it is eight weeks old, or face a fine of up to £500.
If local authorities come across a dog without a microchip, owners will have up to 21 days to comply with the law, or be fined. Defra’s Animal Welfare Minister George Eustice said: “We are a nation of dog lovers and we want to make sure they stay safe.
“Microchipping our dogs will not only reunite people with their lost or stolen pets, but also help to tackle the growing problem of strays roaming the streets and relieve the burden placed on animal charities and local authorities.
“Microchipping is vital for good dog welfare and a simple solution for responsible pet owners to provide peace of mind and ensure your much-loved dog can be traced.” Charities such as the Dogs Trust will microchip dogs for free.