Responsible dog ownership

dogPet owners encouraged to take the lead on responsible dog ownership

A dog may be man’s best friend, but they do have a tendency to get lost or roam away from their owners. Fortunately, lost or stray dogs can be reunited with their family much more quickly and easily if they have been microchipped.

To help reunite owners with lost or stolen pets, relieve stress on animal charities and local authorities and encourage responsible dog ownership, a new government law on compulsory microchipping dogs came into force on April 6th 2016.

Dog owners are being reminded to have their pets microchipped and to keep their details up to date. Owners of dogs found without a chip will have 21 days to have the procedure carried out. Those who refuse to microchip their dogs could face a fine of up to £500.

Ashford Borough Council employs a dedicated Dog Warden who is fully equipped with the training and experience to microchip dogs. The warden will offer a free microchipping service where required; this includes if a dog comes into their possession as lost or a stray, or if they receive repeat complaints of a dog straying.

The microchips are available to the council at no cost from the Dogs Trust, enabling Ashford dog owners to use this service for free. Alternatively, owners can take their dog to their local vet to receive a microchip.

The procedure of microchipping involves a small chip, the size of a grain of rice, being inserted under the dog’s skin between the shoulder blades. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete and will last a lifetime. Microchips contain a unique code which, when scanned, brings up the owner’s contact details from a national database. Pet owners are also required to notify the microchipping company if there is a change in contact details.

If in the unfortunate incident a dog goes missing or is killed on one of our roads and is found, the dog can be scanned for a microchip by the council’s Dog Warden. This may provide some peace of mind to the owner and they will be able to collect their pet.

As part of the council’s litter enforcement campaign, which was rolled out earlier this week, they are also reminding dog owners they have a legal duty to clean up every time their dog messes in a public place. Dog waste can be placed in any public bin; it does not have to be a dedicated dog waste bin. Failure to clean up after your dog could result in a fine of £75.

Cllr Clair Bell, said: “As a nation of dog lovers it is a shame to see lost and stray dogs roaming our parks and streets. We would like to remind owners the importance of having their dog microchipped; it is a quick, simple and safe procedure that can make all the difference in being reunited with your dog should they stray or go missing.

“We also hope the law will relieve stress on our Dog Warden, local rehoming shelters and encourage responsible dog ownership.”

For more information on microchipping, dog warden services and how to report a lost dog visit or call our dog warden on 01233 330340.

Ashford Borough Council 19 September 2016

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