Q&A - Does the new micro-chipping law apply to existing pets or just new ones?

13/06/2016

Q: We have had our dog since he was a puppy and he is now eleven years old. He never goes off the lead when he is out for a walk because he is blind. Do we really need to get him micro-chipped? Or does the requirement only apply to people getting dogs after the law changed?

A: On 6th April 2016 it became compulsory for all owners of dogs over 8 weeks old in England, Scotland and Wales to have them micro-chipped. If after that date it should come to light that you have not had your dog micro-chipped you may be served with a notice to do so and you must comply within 21 days of the notice being served. If you fail to comply with the notice you may be liable to a fine of up to £500 and you may even face prosecution. The only way the owner of a dog over 8 weeks old can legally be exempt from micro-chipping is if a vet verifies the dog cannot be chipped due to health reasons.

Also under the new regulations, if you change your address or contact telephone numbers and do not update your details on the national database, your dog will no longer be considered to be micro-chipped and enforcement can be taken and a notice served. So you must ensure your details are correct and up to date at all times.

Even though your dog is getting on in years and is blind, there are still advantages in having him micro-chipped, aside from the legislation requirement. He could for example become separated from you whilst out for a walk, or on holiday, because you tripped, or fainted, and let go of his lead. If this happened and someone found him he could be reunited with you via the national database. 

Emma Simoes

Emma Simoes

Partner

A Partner in our Criminal Law team in Wrexham