Heartwarming reunions with lost dogs, and harmful animal attacks, both sparked a new law in the United Kingdom.
Beginning April 6, all UK dogs 8 weeks or older must have an implanted ID microchip, the Daily Mail reports. According to the news story, the law came into effect to help reunite owners with missing pets as well as track the owners of dogs that attack people or other animals.
So far, according to the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, 83 percent of dog owners have complied, meaning one in five have not. Fines for noncompliance are as high as £500 GBP ($707 USD).
Microchips have a unique 15-digit code readable by a handheld scanner. They are about the size of a grain of rice, and are implanted by a vet in dogs’ neck scruffs.
British stray or stolen dogs total more than 102,000 every year. Currently, this costs £33 million (about $46 million USD) a year for authorities and charities that look after the dogs, the Mail reports.
After the law takes effect, dog wardens could confiscate dogs without microchips and microchip them. All ownership details will be part of a central database.
The last time the United Kingdom mandated dog ID was in 1988, when dog licenses were no longer required. Apparently they were ignored and seen as ineffective, so they became obsolete. The new law could track dogs in a much more efficient and effective way.