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From a recent discussion with Karen…., who is the CDC dog control officer, it is apparent that there is considerable misunderstanding of the requirements around registration and microchipping.  Council are finding a number of stray dogs with microchips whose numbers are not in the National Database.  Some owners have stated they thought that once the dog was microchipped it no longer needed to be registered. 

The councils have had the responsibility for maintaining a register of dogs for many years.  Several years ago central government mandated that all newly registered dogs must be microchipped and that the councils had to keep a registry of microchip numbers.  This arose partly in response to several serious dog attacks and microchipping was regarded as a means of positively identifying the dogs involved.  Unfortunately, a lot of misinformation was spread by interested groups, resulting in general confusion. 

The situation as it stands is that:

1)     All dogs must be registered at 3 months of age. 

2)     Registration must be renewed annually and there is a fee for this.

3)     Pups must be microchipped prior to their first registration and owners must provide the microchip number to be entered on the register.

4)     The microchip number is recorded in a national database administered by the councils and is accessible to them.

5)     The requirement for microchipping excludes working farm dogs.

6)     Dogs that were not required to be microchipped when they were first registered do not need to be done retrospectively.

7)     Any dog not previously done must be microchipped if it is picked up as a stray or is deemed a dangerous dog.

While the legislation clearly requires all pups to be microchipped before they can be registered the CDC has taken a more lenient stance and will allow them to be registered without being microchipped.  If the dogs stray however they will require them to be chipped.

A common misconception is that the cost of microchipping is very high.  A figure of $100 was used by one group at the time the legislation was being debated.  The cost of microchipping and certification at Clutha Vets is $38.10 if done by itself, reducing to $22.10 if it is done with another procedure.

The microchip is inserted through the skin with a needle.  It causes transient discomfort that is probably similar to that felt by people with ear piercing.  So far we have seen no complications from microchipping.