Manchester dog owners are being urged to microchip their pets and keep the details up to date, after six people were taken to court for failing to do so between April and June 2019.
The prosecutions were brought by Manchester City Council, after the dogs were found roaming the streets and taken to Manchester Dogs’ Home to be cared for.
In each case, the animal was scanned, but either no microchip was detected, or the name and address or telephone contact details registered on the chip were incorrect.
After reclaiming their pets, all six owners were issued with notices by the council, asking them either to have the dog microchipped, or update their microchips to avoid a repeat incident. However, none of the owners took the appropriate action, or responded to reminder letters.
Council wardens who collect stray dogs always scan the animal, to see if they can quickly reunite it with its owner. However, where this is not possible, they are presented to the Dogs' Home, to be cared for as strays.
After just seven days, the dog will be formally handed over to the Dogs' Home, who will then offer it to the public for adoption.
Steve Mapley, Manager at Manchester Dogs' Home, said: "For a dog to have a chance of being reunited with its family, it is vital that the dog is chipped and the details up to date. At the Dogs Home, we regularly find out of date information and there is nothing worse than having a dog in the kennels, when we know there is a family out there looking for it."
In the latest case, Jason Smith, 31, of New Allen Street, Collyhurst, pleaded guilty to failing to microchip his dog at Manchester Magistrates Court on 18 June 2019. Smith was fined £182, with additional court costs and a victim surcharge adding up to a total penalty of £531.
Other cases brought this year included a £580 penalty for Lauren Owen-Williams, 28, of Daisy Bank, Miles Platting, after her unmicrochipped Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross was found straying.
Dale Blinkhorn, 31, of Mauldeth Road West, Chorlton, was ordered to pay £926 for failure to update the details on his French Bulldog cross’ microchip. Sinead Parkes, 21, of Bidston Avenue, Fallowfield was penalised £915 for the same offence, after her Husky-type dog was found straying.
Anthony O'Reilly, 47, of Old Moat Lane, Withington and Kellsetta McGaw, 73, of Eva Street, Moss Side, were both ordered to pay £802 for the offence of failing to update their dogs’ microchip.
Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, said: “For these owners to fail to do the right thing and either get their pet microchipped, or go through the simple process of updating the details, is irresponsible. Regrettably, we eventually had no choice but to take them to court.
“In these cases, the Manchester Dogs’ Home was left to care for these stray dogs, with no way of contacting the owners and only the hope that they would eventually come forward to claim their pet.
“It’s possible to get your dog microchipped for free, via the Blue Cross or Dogs' Trust, so there is absolutely no reason for anybody to end up paying a fine in court.
“Once your pet is microchipped, it’s also essential to ensure that the details on the chip are updated if you move home, or change your contact details. If you don’t and your pet goes missing, we won’t be able to help you reunite."