Last week we were presented with 4 stray dogs within 24hrs. Only 2 of the 4 dogs were legally microchipped enabling us to promptly contact their owners and reunite them with their pets. It seems a timely reminder of the importance of ensuring our pets are not only appropriately tagged and chipped but that the details on these are kept up to date. It has been a legal requirement for dogs to be tagged (owner name and address including postcode, telephone number advised but not compulsory) when in public since 1992. Since 2016 it has also been compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped and for the details on the microchip database to be kept up to date with changes of address, contact numbers and/or ownership. Legally all puppies should be microchipped by the breeder, with the breeders information, before they are homed and the microchip details then transferred to the those of the new owner.
It is the owners responsibility to contact the microchip company directly to ensure they have the correct contact details and to amend these details as necessary with any changes. When a dog strays from their owner, either from home or out on a walk, they usually end up at a vet practice or with the dog warden. If they have a collar with a tag sometimes the person finding the pet is able to call the owner directly. If not a vet can check the dogs chip, check the details on the database and use them to contact the owner, as long as the details are correct. We at Holmer Vets will do everything we can to reunite lost pets with their owners, all 4 of the dogs mentioned were eventually reunited with their owners. For the dogs not appropriately chipped we had to rely on contacting other local vet practices and posting on facebook to find the owners, one of dogs had no chip the other had a chip but out of date details. If we are unable to locate an owner then we have to call the dog warden who takes the pet to a local kennels. When a dog is taken by the warden, either directly or via a vets, there is a fee for their services which is around £55 for the 1st day with additional costs for boarding per day and any vet fees incurred. Dog warden charges must be paid before the dog is released back to their owner. In extreme cases failure to appropriately chip a dog can lead to up to £1000 fine. Aside from being a legal requirement dog microchipping is the best method we have for reuniting lost dogs with their owners, we urge you to ensure your dog is chipped and that you make sure your details are correct on the microchip database (we also urge cat owners to do the same although this is not as yet a legal requirement). We at Holmer Vets are always happy to check stray dogs and cats for microchips.