Owning a dog or indeed any pet is great fun, but all pet owners now have a legal requirement under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to be a responsible owner. Under new regulations, all dogs over 8 weeks old must now be microchipped with up to date keeper details.
Firstly understand the law. A good summery of the laws affecting dog owners can be found on the The Kennel Club website.
Pet owners are now legally obliged to care for their pet properly, by providing these five basic needs:
Hundreds of dogs in Swale become lost each year. Unfortunately some do not get reunited with their owners. When officers from the council pick up a stray dog, the first thing we do is to check for identification. It is now a legal requirement that all dogs over 8 weeks old are microchipped with correct keeper details. It is also a legal requirement for a dog to wear a collar with id tag when it is a public place. The ID tag should have the owners telephone number, house name or number, and post code as a minimum. Please do not put the dogs name on the tag.
We do however recognise that a lot of dogs go missing from home, when they may not be wearing a collar. As already stated, it is now a legal requirement that all dogs should be micro-chipped. This is a very simple procedure that lasts for the life of the dog. The benefits for this are huge, for example, if animal control officers from the council find your dog, they all carry micro-chip scanners, so your dog can be re-united with you very quickly. If your dog is stolen, the chances are that at some point it will have to visit a vet, who will generally check the micro-chip details.
So how do you get your dog micro-chipped? Well first of all, speak to your local vet, who all offer the service, some even do special offers if you have it done at the same time as the dogs vaccinations, just give them a call and find out. There are independent specialists who offer the service, and Swale Borough Council also runs special micro-chipping events, which are publicised through the local media.
So the message is, for a very small cost, stay legal and get your dog permanently micro-chipped, and know that where ever you dog is it can be identified. Please also remember, if you take your dog out, it must legally be wearing a collar and id tag.
For more information visit: RSPCA - micro-chipping.
Re-homing of dogs to the public is currently not a service provided by Swale Borough Council.
All dogs not claimed by their owner during the statutory seven day period are passed onto specialist rescue centers.