A chip­per out­look

De­tail­ing the new leg­is­la­tion on the mi­crochip­ping of dogs, Vicky Payne’s ar­ti­cle is es­sen­tial read­ing for any­one who breeds, owns, or works dogs

Sporting Shooter - - Gundog Vet -

De­pend­ing on how good a job the govern­ment have done in pub­li­cis­ing their new leg­is­la­tion, you may or may not be aware that, from 6 April this year, all dogs in Eng­land must be mi­crochipped. In Wales and Scot­land, the leg­is­la­tion is likely to come into ef­fect some time in spring, and com­pul­sory mi­crochip­ping has been in force in North­ern Ire­land for some time. Read­ers in North­ern Ire­land should al­ready be fa­mil­iar with their leg­is­la­tion, and read­ers in Wales and Scot­land will have to for­give me for con­cen­trat­ing on the English law, but it is likely that the Welsh and Scot­tish leg­is­la­tion will be very sim­i­lar. Read­ers should note that I am bas­ing this ar­ti­cle on draft leg­is­la­tion which may have al­tered by pub­li­ca­tion.

It is hoped that com­pul­sory mi­crochip­ping will re­duce the in­ci­dence of dog theft, make re­unit­ing lost dogs eas­ier, and aid in the pros­e­cu­tion of puppy farm­ers and the own­ers of dan­ger­ous dogs. The ba­sic thing to ap­pre­ci­ate about the new leg­is­la­tion is that, from 6 April, all dogs over eight weeks in Eng­land (with a few ex­cep­tions) must be mi­crochipped and the keeper’s de­tails recorded on a gov­ern­men­tap­proved data­base. The mi­crochip must meet a spe­cific stan­dard too, but this shouldn’t be an is­sue for dogs chipped in the UK or EU. Any­one breed­ing a lit­ter of pup­pies must have them mi­crochipped be­fore they are sold, and must be reg­is­tered as the first keeper. Mi­crochip­ping can be de­layed un­til 12 weeks in pup­pies that have

All dogs over eight weeks must be mi­crochipped as of 6 April this year been docked, but must still be done be­fore sale, and a vet can pro­vide a cer­tifi­cate for any pup­pies deemed un­suit­able for mi­crochip­ping be­fore eight weeks, al­low­ing them to be done later. From 6 April only vets, vet nurses, vet/vet nurse stu­dents, im­planters who have been on a course that in­cluded chip­ping real dogs, or those trained on the new state-ap­proved cour­ses will be able to im­plant mi­crochips. Docked pup­pies can still only be chipped by a vet, or a vet nurse un­der a vet’s su­per­vi­sion.

Breed­ers will be ex­pected to give mi­crochip­ping pa­per­work to puppy buy­ers, who must then con­tact the mi­crochip data­base to add their de­tails. Many peo­ple have ex­pressed con­cern that this will add ex­tra costs, how­ever the Ken­nel Club (KC) will be of­fer­ing the first change of keeper de­tails free when, if the puppy is KC reg­is­tered, the buyer trans­fers KC reg­is­tra­tion to their name. The chip is then reg­is­tered on the Petlog data­base. No puppy or adult dog can be trans­ferred to a new keeper un­less it has been mi­crochipped af­ter 6 April, or has a vet’s cer­tifi­cate stat­ing it is un­fit to be mi­crochipped. Much like your car logbook, it is im­por­tant that the mi­crochip is reg­is­tered to the keeper of the dog, which may not be the same as the owner. The keeper is con­sid­ered to be the per­son with whom the dog nor­mally lives (with ex­cep­tions for guide dogs and as­sis­tance dogs), so it may be nec­es­sary to change the reg­is­tered de­tails if a dog goes for res­i­den­tial train­ing. Dogs will still be re­quired to wear col­lars bear­ing the owner’s name and ad­dress when in pub­lic, un­less work­ing as gundogs, sheep­dogs, etc.

It re­mains un­clear how the new leg­is­la­tion will be en­forced, ex­cept that au­tho­rised peo­ple (dog wardens, po­lice of­fi­cers, com­mu­nity sup­port of­fi­cers) will be able to serve no­tices on peo­ple who have not chipped their dogs, re­quir­ing them to do so within 21 days. Fail­ure to com­ply could re­sult in the dog be­ing chipped at the owner’s ex­pense, or in the dog be­ing seized.

Vets and dog char­i­ties have been of­fer­ing free or low-cost mi­crochip­ping over the last few years, in prepa­ra­tion for the new leg­is­la­tion. Ex­pect your vet to scan your dogs at rou­tine vis­its (though it won’t be com­pul­sory for them to do so), and to ad­vise you of the law if they find your dog is not chipped. How­ever, client con­fi­den­tial­ity means that they won’t be turn­ing in own­ers who don’t chip their dogs.

Mi­crochips must meet a spe­cific stan­dard

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