Local dog owner collared

We've successfully prosecuted a dog owner after they failed to keep their dog's microchip details up to date.

It's a legal requirement for all owners to microchip their dogs and ensure the details are up to date. The information contained in a dog's microchip helps authorities reunite lost or stray pets with their owners.

In March, our Dog Warden collected a stray dog. Scanning the dog's microchip showed it as registered to an address in Essex. The address belonged to the previous owner so, as the current owner was unknown, the dog remained in our kennels.

The dog's owner Victoria Hughes, of Hemel Hempstead, came forward to collect the dog. Between June 2014 and March 2017, the dog had been seized as a stray six times. Each time the dog was returned to Ms Hughes, the Dog Warden asked her to update the microchip database.

As Ms Hughes had failed to update the dog's details, we served her with a notice requesting that she do so within 21 days, and provide evidence that she had done this. We provided instructions on how to do it.

Victoria Hughes failed to respond to the notice issued and was subsequently served a summons. She failed to attend a hearing at St Albans Magistrates' Court in October and, in her absence, was found guilty of failing to comply with a Notice under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) 2015 regulations. She was ordered to pay a total of £585.

Microchipping is available at most vets and is quick and painless for the animal. We also offer low-cost microchipping.

Councillor Janice Marshall, Portfolio Holder for Environmental, Sustainability and Regulatory Services, said: "Dog owners must take responsibility for their pets at all times. This includes keeping their pets under control, cleaning up their mess and ensuring their microchip details are up to date.

"We want to ensure the good welfare of all animals in the borough and prosecuting this irresponsible owner shows that we take this duty seriously. If your dog's microchip isn't up to date, update it today or you could be hit with a fine."

Lost and stray dogs cost the taxpayer and charities £33 million a year so a microchip makes it much easier to reunite a dog with its owner. However, dogs will still need to wear a collar and tag that states the name and address of the owner when in a public place. The new law means microchips can also connect owners to abused pets so they can be held criminally liable.

All dogs aged eight weeks and over must be microchipped. This can be done quickly and easily by our Dog Warden or your own vet. Alternatively, some charities, such as Dogs Trust, offer the service free of charge. Anyone breeding dogs will be responsible for microchipping puppies before they sell them or give them to new owners. All imported dogs will also need a microchip.

To find out more, visit our responsible dog ownership page.