From 6th April 2016 onwards, a new regulation relating to the mandatory microchipping of all dogs in the UK comes into force, which will have a range of wide-reaching implications for all dog owners and potential puppy buyers.
After this date, when you buy a new puppy, it is mandatory that it be microchipped before you take it home, and this places a number of onuses on both you as the buyer of the puppy, and the breeder or owner of the dam of the litter that produced it.
In this article, we will look at what the new regulations mean for you as a puppy buyer, and how you can ensure that you comply with the regulations.
Once the new regulations come into force, it will be mandatory for all dogs in the UK to be microchipped, and for the details held for the keeper of each dog to be kept up to date in the relevant database.
Failure to comply with the regulations in terms of either failing to microchip or neglecting to keep the details of the dog’s keeper up to date attracts a fine of up to £500, and for repeated refusals to comply with the regulations, further penalties may also apply.
The new regulations will mean that all puppies must be microchipped and registered on the database by the time they are eight weeks old. As puppies should not leave their dams to go to their permanent homes before they reach the age of between eight to twelve weeks, this means that microchipping is something that the breeder of the puppies must take care of, before the pups go to their new keepers.
Whilst there are no legal minimum age requirements for microchipping, The Kennel Club strongly recommends that puppies are not microchipped until they reach six weeks of age, which leaves a fairly small window of opportunity for the breeder to comply with the regulations.
However, as puppies should also receive the first of their two stage initial vaccinations at eight weeks old, this presents an opportunity for breeders to integrate microchipping into their calendar of puppy milestones at the appropriate time, without the need to make an additional special appointment to have the microchip implanted.
When you first go to view a litter of puppies and decide that you are interested enough in buying one to find out more, you should spend some time talking to the breeder about a wide range of factors, including the pup’s vaccination status, health, and other essential information.
This is also the time at which you should find out about the pup’s microchipping status, if this has already been carried out, and if not, when it is scheduled.
While The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme framework states that puppies should not be sent to their new homes until they are at least twelve weeks old, not all breeders are enrolled within this scheme, and in some cases, breeders will permit puppies to leave their dam from around the age of eight weeks old.
However, this does not mean that breeders can place the onus for microchipping onto the buyer of the puppy. The new regulations state that the pup’s microchip should reflect all of their keepers, including the breeder, who will be the very first person to keep the pup, and so, is responsible for getting it microchipped before it is rehomed.
So, you’ve agreed to buy the puppy, confirmed that it is microchipped, and arranged the date at which you will take ownership. On the day itself, you will probably want to spend a good while with the breeder taking care of the handover, and also, to exchange contracts and ensure that you have everything that you should, such as the puppy’s breed certification, vaccination details and everything else.
Make sure that you also receive the paperwork that accompanies the pup’s microchip too-this paperwork is issued at the point of microchipping rather than being sent by post later on, and so there is no legitimate reason for a breeder who has genuinely had their puppies microchipped to delay or be unable to provide you with the paperwork.
Once the ownership of the puppy has formally passed over to you, in order to comply with the microchipping regulations, you must get the database updated to reflect the pup’s change of keeper.
The regulations allow for 21 days from the date of the change of keeper for this to happen, so it is important to make sure that you take care of it promptly in order to avoid falling foul of the law.
The paperwork for the microchip that you receive with the puppy will tell you how to change the details held on the database, and bear in mind that this must be completed by post, rather than online or over the phone.
Changing the details for the pup’s microchip attracts a small fee, usually between £10-£20 depending on the database that holds the details for your own dog.
To find out more about the full remit of the new regulations and what they mean for dog owners, check out this document about the government legislation.