As of April 6, 2016, UK law requires all dogs eight weeks or older to have microchip implants.
If a pooch is caught without the microchip implant, the owner will be given 21 days to comply with the new regulations. In cases where the dog owner is negligent, he or she will be made to pay a fine. In such cases, the authorities could also take the dog away from the owner, have it implanted with the microchip, and then compel the owner to pay for the procedure anyway.
In a BBC report, Simon Blackburn of the Local Government Association, said that microchips will address “reckless” ownership, as well as save taxpayers’ cash that would otherwise be used to look after strays. Moreover, the microchips will make it easier and quicker to return dogs to their owners in case they are stolen or lost.
The microchip that the UK government wants implanted into dogs is about the size of a single grain of rice. Dogs Trust — the country’s largest dog welfare charity — explained, “with the use of a specially designed implanting device, the microchip is injected through a sterile needle under the dog’s skin, right between the shoulder blades.” The procedure causes a mild discomfort similar to what is felt during a standard vaccination.
The chip is assigned a unique number that can be read by a scanner. The number corresponds to the dog owner’s contact details. All this information is logged on a central database. If the dog ever goes missing, all the authorities have to do is use the scanner to find out who the dog’s owner is and how to get in touch with him or her.
Currently, it’s estimated that more than 1.45 million dogs still need to be implanted with microchips. In any case, when dogs are out in public, they’re still required to wear a collar with a tag that states the name and address of the owner. The microchip, though, serves as the fail-safe feature.