Leeds ,

Microchipping keeps dog owners on right side of new law

Dog owners were able to take advantage of free microchipping with council dog wardens and The Dogs Trust today.

The service was being offered in Garforth ahead of microchipping for all dogs becoming compulsory in 2016.

Between 10am and 2pm at Barley Hill Recreation Ground 60 dogs were microchipped, increasing their chances of being reunited with their pet should they be lost or stolen.

Another four people updated details on their dog’s microchip and wardens were able to give two people free dog neutering vouchers.

According to dog warden Gavin Jarrett, microchipping is just the first step. He said:

“It’s great that people get their dogs chipped. It’s the first thing we check when we pick up a stray. But, sadly, in a lot of cases the information stored is out of date so we can’t get them home.

“Once your dog is chipped, please keep your contact details up to date if you move or change phone number.”

Offering his support, along with his dog Velma, was Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental protection and community safety. Councillor Dobson said:

“Velma has been chipped since she became part of our family as we want to give her the best chance of finding her way back to us if she got lost.

“Our dog wardens deal with hundreds of strays each year. That number is going down due to microchipping, the introduction of our dog control orders and social media playing an increasing part in lost or stray dogs being identified and returned without our intervention.

“For those animals that the wardens do pick up, a large proportion don’t have a microchip or identification at all, or worse, a microchip with the wrong information.

“People need to ensure they’ve taken all the necessary steps to be a responsible dog owner; that includes everything from a collar with identification, registering their pet with one of six national microchip databases and familiarising themselves with Leeds’ dog control orders.”

From April 2016, all dogs in England must be microchipped and registered on an authorised microchip database.

Dog control orders which make it an offence for a dog to be off its lead by the roadside in Leeds came into effect in 2011. If a dog is on its lead, owners are more likely to spot it fouling and pick up after them.

The dog control orders also make it an offence to allow dogs into some play parks, cemeteries and sports courts.

A full list of exclusion zones and information on dog control orders can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk.

Failure to comply with dog control orders carries a maximum £1,000 fine.