News Q&A: Farmers appeal to owners to get dogs microchipped

With hundreds of thousands of dogs not microchipped and registered by last Friday’s national deadline, the farmer organisations appealed to owners of the country’s dog population of about 1m to comply with the new mandatory requirement.

News Q&A: Farmers appeal to owners to get dogs microchipped

IFA sheep chairman John Lynskey said an IFA survey conducted late last year indicated the average cost of a getting a dog microchipped by a vet is €25, ranging from €12 to €30 in the practices surveyed. Some vets include a health check in the cost of the microchipping service and others may offer a discount for a number of dogs.

John Brooks, chairman of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association sheep section, said the microchipping requirement is a timely reminder for all dog owners of the threat their animals pose to sheep flocks.

“Even if the sheep are not directly attacked and have no visible injuries they can die from the shock alone. There is also the possibility that some ewes will abort, which only adds to the stress and the overall cost to the farmer.

"It is imperative that dog owners keep their dogs on a lead at all times when walking in the countryside, especially around livestock.”

Mr Lynskey said statistics collated by the IFA indicated there were 300-400 attacks by dogs on sheep flocks per annum, with 3,000 to 4,000 sheep injured and killed.

Dogs Trust and the Department of Agriculture have provided the following information on microchipping. Dogs Trust is Ireland’s leading dog welfare charity. It microchipped more than 2,500 dogs free of charge in its Awareness Campaign in March.

If there are several databases how will someone who finds my dog know where to look?

To be authorised, a database must be a full member of europetnet. This is an organisation that acts as a clearing house for animal microchipping numbers. If your dog is found, a search on will show which database holds the owner’s details.

I don’t know my chip number?

Your local vet should scan your dog free of charge and give you this number.

I don’t know who my database provider is?

You can use to search the dog’s microchip number. It will be able to let you know who your database provider is. You can contact your database directly to enquire about getting a dog microchipping certificate.

I have brought my dog to Ireland from abroad. Do I need to do anything?

If you are here on holiday or other short stay, you do not have to do anything further as your dog would already have been microchipped and accompanied on arrival by a pet passport.

If you are planning a longer- term stay, you will need to register your ownership of your dog on an approved database in this country within three weeks of arrival.

How will the scheme be enforced?

Local authorities, authorised officers under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and the gardaí will be responsible for enforcing the law. Vets will also be asked to remind owners to microchip their dogs.

Owners of dogs found without a chip after April will have a short time to have the procedure carried out. Those who refuse to microchip their dogs could face a fine of up to €5,000.

My dog is elderly, or doesn’t leave the house. Do I still need a microchip?

Yes, by law, all dogs need to be microchipped.

Who can implant a microchip?

Vets and veterinary nurses are allowed as are persons trained and authorised by databases in the appropriate procedures.

Implanting courses run in other states are not valid to allow implanting because this is a two-step process and a person must be trained not just in the safe and correct implantation and animal handling but also in the correct handling of the data.

Similarly, databases are not allowed to take registration data from people who they have not set up as an identified and authorised as a unique user.

This means all records will be identifiable by the individual responsible for implanting the dog and creating the record which identifies it.

How much will this cost me?

If your dog is already microchipped, you need to contact your database provider to check that your dog is registered, details are correct and then obtain a certificate, this will cost €4.50 to €15 per dog, on average.

If your dog is not microchipped, the service is carried out at veterinary practices and prices vary from €20-€50.

Can the microchip be removed?

Not without surgery.

My dog was born before the Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015, do I have to have it chipped?

Yes. The regulations apply to all dogs from March 31.

Do the Microchipping Of Dogs Regulations 2015 have any implications if I buy a new dog?

Yes they do. There is a problem that dogs which are microchipped sometimes have out-of-date details on the database they are recorded on.

Therefore the Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015 require that the certificate of registration issued by the database must be endorsed by the seller and then forwarded by the buyer to the relevant database.

I sold my dog but I don’t know the identity of the seller.

Buyers and sellers are required to verify the identity. If the transfer of ownership is not carried out properly, there is a risk that buyer or seller may be at risk. For example, if you bought a stolen dog it may still legally belong to the registered owner.

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Karen Walsh

Karen Walsh

Law of the Land

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