Last minute microchips keep vet practices very busy

Darcy the Pug examining a dog microchip. New laws to ensure all dogs are microchipped will improve a

Darcy the Pug examining a dog microchip. New laws to ensure all dogs are microchipped will improve animal welfare and may help cut the number of strays. Photo: Geoff Caddick/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Dog owners have been flooding to vets as this week it became a legal requirement for the pets to be micro-chipped in England.

As of Wednesday, all dogs aged eight weeks must be chipped, otherwise their owners could face a £500 fine.

It is a move which has been made in order to make it easier to identify the owners of dogs that have strayed, are being mistreated, neglected, abandoned or lost.

It also means they will be added to a central database listing every pooch in the UK.

Robert Livie, a vet and director at Haven Vets in Yarmouth, said: “A lot of people have been leaving it to the last second.

“We ordered 60 microchips for Tuesday which ran out on the day and then we ordered another 80 for Wednesday which we just had enough.

“It has been a very busy couple of days, we have been implanting several microchips every hour.”

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Marlon Barnes, a resident nurse at the Anchorage Veterinary Hospital in Acle, said there the vets have been running between eight and 12 micro-chipping appointments per day for the past two weeks.

He said: “There have been quite a lot of last minute appointments to make sure it is done before the law comes into place.

“It is definitely a good thing as it will help reunite lost pets with their owners.

“It is a very easy and quick procedure. It only costs £9.99 here and sometimes the dog does not even notice it happening.”

Lost and stray dogs cost the taxpayer and charities £33m a year so a microchip makes it much easier to reunite a dog with its owner.

The new law means microchips can also connect owners of abused pets so they can be held criminally liable and it will crackdown on the dog black market.

A tiny microchip about the size of a grain of rice is implanted under the dog’s skin on the back of the neck in a painless procedure.

This gives the dog a unique code to be scanned and matched to its keeper’s contact details.

The details are kept on a database. Every time the keeper changes their contact details, they will incur a fee.

If a dog is not micro-chipped its keeper will be served with a notice requiring them to have the dog chipped within 21 days. After this time they will be liable to pay a fine of £500.

A dog will be legally exempt from being micro-chipped only when a vet certifies that it cannot be chipped for health reasons. This needs to done on a form approved by the Secretary of State.