VIDEO: How to avoid the doghouse

VIDEO: How to avoid the doghouse

Published at 1:08pm 6th April 2016. (Updated at 1:40pm 6th April 2016)

Dog owners across Harrogate, Craven and Wharfedale are being reminded that their pets must now be microchipped by law.

It's aimed at reducing the number of strays and anyone who fails to comply with the new legislation could be fined up to £500.

Unlike tags and collars, which can be taken off or can fall off, microchipping is a more permanent way to identify a dog - although they must legally wear a collar and tag as well.

The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is put under the dog's loose skin on the back of the neck.

Once this has been done, the dog has its own unique code.

If a dog becomes lost or stolen and is picked up by a warden or turns up at a shelter or vets' surgery, the microchip can then be scanned and matched to the owner's contact details, which are kept on a database.

However, if an owner subsequently moves home or changes their contact details, the dog is no longer considered to be microchipped under the regulations and enforcement action can be taken and a notice served.

If the keeper doesn't update their details within 21 days of the served notice, they will be liable to pay a fine of £500.

Mark Lee, Environmental Health Officer at Harrogate Borough Council, said: "Microchipping will make it easier for our dog wardens or the police to trace the owners of missing dogs, which in turn means they can be reunited with their pets as quickly as possible.

"The law also has the benefit of helping in the control of dangerous dogs, as it creates a link between a dog and its owner.

"I would urge any dog owner who hasn't already had their dog microchipped to do so now and those who have their dog microchipped to check their details are up to date."

You can find out where to get your pet microchipped by visiting www.petlog.org.uk and entering your postcode.