There is less than a week to go before dog owners could be fined £500 for not having their pets microchipped.

Pooch lovers in Cheshire are being urged to act to help protect their dog before new laws come into force this month.

Having a chip also makes it easier to reunite dogs which have been lost or stolen with their rightful owners.

From April 6 every dog owner in England will be legally required to microchip their pet by the time it is eight weeks old or face a fine of up to £500.

Lee Paris, campaigns manager at charity the Dogs Trust, says: “Having a dog microchipped should give owners peace of mind, because all dogs have the capacity to escape, no matter how responsible the owner is.

Darcy the Pug examines a dog microchip

“This will make it much easier to reunite worried owners with their pets.”

The legislation aims to stop illegal breeding of dogs, bring owners to account for a dog’s aggressive behaviour and reduce the number of strays.

What you need to know

Owners can get their pooches chipped for free at some vets such as Green Lane Veterinary Centre in Saltney, charity centres and local council events.

Other vet practices may charge a fee of about £20.

Roughly the size of the a grain of rice, the implant is placed underneath the skin between the shoulder blades in a virtually painless procedure.

Each microchip is given a unique reference number, which will show up on a central database alongside the owner’s contact details whenever it is scanned.

What happens if you don’t get your dog chipped by April 6?

If you are stopped by a council or police officer after April 6 and they discover your dog is not microchipped you will be given an enforcement notice, giving you 21 days to comply with the law.

Anyone who fails to do so can face a fine of up to £500.

If you move home or change your phone number you must also contact the database, if you fail to keep your details up to date you can also face a similar charge.

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