Dog owners are being reminded to microchip their dogs and ensure the details stored on the chip are up to date after a Northumberland woman was prosecuted.
The county council reminder follows a prosecution by its housing and public protection animal welfare team.
Last Monday, Mid and South East Northumberland magistrates fined Rebecca Mellor of Rosedene Villas, Cramlington, a total of £584 for failing to update her pet’s ownership details, despite being requested to do so after her pet Shih Tzu dog was found roaming the streets of Cramlington.
The dog had been found as a stray on October 25 last year and returned to Mellor the following day with a 21-day microchipping notice. A cost of £16 is currently in place to update ownership/contact details. Failure to update the details resulted in the court appearance and a much larger financial penalty.
It is a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped and for owners to make sure the information stored on the chip is up to date. Failure to do so could lead to a prosecution and fine.
Microchipping is in place to enable identification of a dog and helps authorities reunite stray pets with their owners. Updated microchips also act as a deterrent to dog theft and give vets and officials the ability to easily contact an owner in an emergency.
Since April 2016, all dogs have to be microchipped from eight weeks old. The council says it is advised that before you buy a dog, you ensure it is already microchipped and that you update the contact details as necessary.
In order for microchip data to be useful, the details recorded must be up to date. Therefore owners who move house, or even change their mobile telephone number, should remember to ensure their dog’s microchip details are updated.
Incorrect or out-of-date information means that your dog is not legally considered as microchipped.
Owners should also be aware that dogs must still wear a collar and tag with the owner’s details on it, as well as being microchipped.
Philip Soderquest, head of housing and public protection, said: “Our Animal Welfare Team work hard to keep unsupervised animals off the street as stray animals can pose a danger to themselves and to others. It’s very important that we raise public awareness of the law around microchipping so dog owners are clear on the steps they need to take to act responsibly in keeping their pets safe.
“When a dog goes missing it can be distressing for both the dog and their owner. Having your pet microchipped is quick and painless for them and increases the chances of you being reunited with your dog if they go missing."
You can get your dog microchipped by contacting your local vet or the county council. Anyone who is facing difficulty in microchipping their dogs or needs further advice is advised to contact the council on 0345 6006400.