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Has your dog got a microchip on its shoulder?

A dog lying in a green field

In a bid to reduce the number of stray dogs roaming England’s streets, the government has introduced a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped by 2016. Have you had your dog microchipped yet?

According to government figures, more than 100,000 dogs are lost or dumped each year at a cost of £57m. So, the government has changed the Animal Warefare Act to stipulate that all dog owners must microchip their pets by 2016, or face fines of up to £500.

If you’re a dog owner, the first thing you might be wondering is, ‘how much is this going to cost me?’ Well, as a rule, microchipping isn’t very expensive, costing between £20 and £30 at most vets. Although, for the time being, a few animal charities are offering free microchipping, such as the Dogs Trust, Blue Cross and Battersea Dogs and Cats home.

Of course, if you rescued your dog from an animal shelter, there’s a chance it may be microchipped already. When I rescued my cat via the RSPCA, part of the small fee we paid to take her home included her microchipping. Personally, I was very happy to pay it. I have the peace of mind of knowing that if my cat does ever wander off, she has a much better chance of making it home again safely.

Straying from the point

My cat’s microchip also comes in handy with her cat flap, as the chip allows Kes in and yet handily keeps the neighbours’ cats out.

However, if she gets lost, it’s only helpful in locating her if my contact details are correct. While writing this, I realised that I haven’t kept my own cat’s microchip data up-to-date. In fact, it’s currently two addresses out-of-date. And while I could probably be tracked down fairly easily – it completely defeats the point of having her chipped.

It seems to me that compulsory microchipping could certainly make a dent in the huge number of dogs being abandoned and lost every year. Is your dog already microchipped? Or have you ever been reunited with a lost pet thanks to a microchip?


Greyhounds have been required to be micro-chipped for several years and they have also been individually ear tattooed since 1928 – So all my dogs can be easily identified. The trouble has been that some shelters don’t bother to search..

Hate to point out that a great many CATS are lost annually yet no new law to have THEM micro-chipped. Why?

Profile photo of Jennifer Davis

Good question, Richard. I’m afraid I don’t know the answer, but one news site has suggested that the law doesn’t apply to cats (yet) because they’re less likely to stray far from home, as they’re more territorial animals than dogs.

par ailleurs says:
2 years 9 months ago

Not a very nice tone of ‘voice’ there richard. Capital letters are the equivalent of shouting in my book. OK, so I think we can assume that you don’t like cats. Fair enough but a lot of people do and there again a lot of folk who don’t like any pet animals. Horses for courses here. (Sorry!)
On the matter of chipping though, I do agree that it’s completely pointless as responsible dog and cat owners will already have had it done and those owners who don’t care won’t. The dangerous trophy dog bought for cash down the pub will stay a menace.


Just to say, all my dogs in the past and present have all been Microchipped. This is NOT going to stop the nasty attacks, etc. I work in the veterinary industry and the amount of dogs that come into the practice that are microchipped and we contact the data base, find numbers, names etc. Then you ring that person to be told………… 1/ Got rid of that dog years ago. 2/ re-homed that one 3/ they actually claim they never owed that dog (??) more reason than you can throw a stick at. Once a dog gets registered on the date base, people believe that’s it, end of…. If people sell dogs on or rehome, they never get the details changed, and why ? simple the data base charge 15.00 pounds to change details. simple and end of. WHY can’t we bring back the good old licence.?? this really will sort people out.


There is already legislation in Northern Ireland requiring dogs to be microchipped. I haven’t noticed a reduction in the amount of strays. Where I live, the same dogs are running the streets every day. I can’t even take my own dogs for a walk in my own estate, in case they are attacked. I have to take my dogs out in the car to a safe place for their walks. Of course, with all the dogs running free, my front garden (and street) is full of dog poo from other people’s dogs. Ringing the dog warden is a complete waste of time. I would also agree with the points raised by Sue about the excuses that people will give when their dogs are caught ‘up to no good’.


Something I forgot to mention, is that Sue mentioned above how the return of the dog licence would sort the problem out, it wouldn’t. We have been required to have dog licences in NI for as long as I can remember, and we still have the same problems with dogs as the rest of the UK. A dog licence is just a worthless piece of paper. I’ve been paying dog licences for years and haven’t noticed any use to it. It doesn’t prevent dogs straying or dog attacks, etc. They might as well scrap dog licences for all the use they are.