A free dog microchipping event at Coate Water this Saturday (30 April) could help pet owners avoid a fine of up to £500.
The law now states that all dogs over the age of 8 weeks must be microchipped with up-to-date ownership details.
Microchipping increases the chance of lost or stolen dogs being returned to their owners, and all stray dogs picked up by Swindon Borough Council are scanned for a microchip.
Last year the Council picked up 81 strays which were microchipped, but in 57 of those cases the details were out of date and not all of the dogs could be returned to their owners.
The event on Saturday will be run by the Council in partnership with charity Blue Cross and will be held on the green opposite the Pitch and Put/Crazy Golf at Coate Water park. It will be open between 10am and 4pm, and will run under an amnesty, which means that no-one bringing a dog with outdated information, or that is unchipped, will be prosecuted. Booking is not necessary and the free offer is open to everyone, with no maximum number of dogs.
A similar event held recently at Lydiard Park by the Council and the charity saw 164 dogs chipped, with a further 40 owners given advice about how to update their dog’s chip information.
On the 6th April the full part of the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 Act came into force and it is now a breach to have a dog that isn’t chipped or has out of date information. The habitual keeper must make sure this is complied with and if the requirements are ignored, they could be fined up to £500.
The change does not alter the legal requirement under the Control of Dogs Order for all owners to make sure their pet wears a collar and tag when in a public place that states the name and address of the owner.
The new microchipping legislation applies to all dogs over the age of eight weeks old, no matter what breed or type. All breeders will have to microchip their puppies before transferring ownership, regardless of whether they are sold or given away. This includes accidental litters and all breeds, including crossbreeds, and it will be a criminal offence to not do so.
Owners who are unable to attend the event and have a dog that has no chip or one that is out of date is advised to contact their vet. Alternatively, owners can arrange an appointment with the Blue Cross at Burford on 0300 777 1570 who will chip any dog (or cat) for free.