More than 100,000 dogs are dumped or lost each year.

The vast majority of these are put to sleep when rescue centres are full to capacity.

spirit - downEvery dog owner in England will have to microchip their animal from 6 April 2016 under plans intended to cut a rise in strays. Microchips are coded with owners’ details, and owners who do not comply could face fines of up to £500. Any owner whose dog is found without a chip and can be traced by local authorities will have a short period of time to have the dog micro-chipped. The up-side is that if your dog becomes lost, the scanner will reveal your dog’s chip details and you can be reunited quickly with your dog.

Laws governing dog attacks will also be extended to cover private property, closing a loophole which has meant that dog owners whose animals have attacked people on private property are immune from prosecution. This will no longer be the case.

Currently some animal charities, such as the Dogs Trust, Blue Cross and Battersea Dogs and Cats home, offer a free micro-chipping service to owners.

The procedure, which costs about £20-£30 at a private veterinary clinic, involves inserting a sterile chip the size of a grain of rice between a dog’s shoulder blades.

It is a good idea to ask your vet to scan your dogs once a year to ensure that the chip has not “migrated” or ceased to function. Chips have a limited life, somewhere around 7 years, I am told, so if they cease to operate, you will have to have another chip inserted.

Please ensure that your details are updated if you move house

or change your telephone number.

…  Anne