Dog owners are being reminded that they have a number of responsibilities related to their pets, some of which came into force this year and which can result in a fine of up to £5,000 - in the case of a dog in public without a collar and tag - if not complied with.
All dogs aged over eight weeks and over must now be microchipped by the keeper and registered on an authorised database. If a dog is sold or passed onto someone else, the previous owner must register the new keepers' details against the microchip. There is also a requirement to inform the database company used if the dog passes away.
If a dog is brought into the UK from abroad, it is required to have a pet passport. As part of the pet passport scheme, the dog will have been microchipped. If the owner is staying in the UK, the microchip must be registered with a UK microchipping database to comply with the law.
If a dog is found without a microchip, owners are given a period of time to comply with the legislation, after which a £500 fine can be issued.
When in a public place, dogs must also wear a collar which has the name, address and postcode of the owner engraved on it, or on a tag attached.
Owners are also reminded that they should take every reasonable step to stop their dog from straying. Facilities have to be provided for stray dogs which can result in significant costs for the Council and these may be recovered from careless owners.
Dogs could be reunited with their owners quickly and costs reduced if owners comply with the law and ensured that their pets are microchipped and wearing a collar and tag. Council officers will be enforcing the legislation which requires the owners details on the collar or tag.
Including the dog's name on the collar or tag is optional, and with the threat of dog theft, the Council does not recommend this. An example of the information to put on a dog tag is:
Mr A Smith
No 54, BH17 7TD
Mr A Smith
No 54 Letsbe Avenue
More information on the responsibilities of dog owning can be found on ClacksWeb and dog welfare websites.