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Microchip warning to dog and cat owners

Issue: 14/06/2024

Cat owners are being warned that the compulsory microchipping of cats will start in June, which is also National Microchipping Month.
From 10 June 2024 cats over 20 weeks old must be microchipped and registered on a compliant database.  By microchipping their cats, owners can increase the likelihood that they will be reunited with their beloved pet if they go missing.
Dog owners are also being advised to check their contact details are up to date on their pet’s chip record.
A spokesperson for microchip company Petlog, run by the Kennel Club, said: “We’re concerned that many pet owners forget to alert their microchip database about changes of phone number and address, which is a really worrying and unnecessary barrier to successful reunification. Checking and updating your details this National Microchipping Month is such a simple step but can make all the difference.”
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) estimates that as many as 2.3 million cats in England are unchipped, meaning that it would be very difficult to reunite them with their owner if they get lost.
A Petlog spokesperson added: “Microchipping is already mandatory for dogs and having the same rules apply for cats in England will keep mean more pets can be reunited and get back home if they go missing.  We urge cat owners to not leave microchipping until the last minute but to take the steps needed now, to ensure that their pet is kept safe and that they are compliant when the law changes in a few weeks. Of course, a microchip is only as effective as the contact details on the database that the chip is registered with, so this is also a timely reminder to all pet owners to ensure that their contact details are up-to-date, in order to help ensure swift reunification.”

Defra recently announced changes to the pet microchipping system which will include requiring database operators to provide a field indicating whether the pet has been reported as ‘missing’, strengthening the process for transferring keepership of a pet by ensuring the current keeper has 28 days to object, and preventing the creation of duplicate records.
The changes also include the creation of a central portal that approved users – including vets, local authorities, and police - can use to search microchip records rather than having to contact separate databases individually, which can delay the time taken for pets to be returned home. There are over 20 databases that meet the government standards and sources indicate that they are resistant to the use of a central portal for approved users.
In recent years there have been two high-profile campaigns calling on vets to mandatorily scan microchips on the first presentation of a pet.
Fern’s Law, calls on the Government to enact legislation to make scanning an animal’s microchip compulsory upon first presentation at a veterinary surgery and/or during the pet’s annual check-up. It received over 100,000 signatures in a petition and has been debated in parliament.
Tuk’s Law would ensure that no healthy or treatable pet can be euthanised by a vet without having its microchip scanned first and that no dog can be destroyed without the expressed permission of its registered keeper.
There have also been calls for the creation of a single database of microchipped cats and dogs.
Recently, OUR DOGS identified the issue of scam microchip websites which take the money and use the data of users and leave pets unregistered.
Just before parliament closed down for the general election the Pet Abduction Bill was passed which will make dog theft a specific crime punishable by up five years in jail and/or a fine.