A hilarious image of a dog with a box of microwavable chips strapped to its back has been such a success online, even the police are using it to promote a new law.
As of this week dog owners could face a fine of £500 if they do not get their pets microchipped.
Since Wednesday, April 6, it is law for all dogs in England and Scotland to be microchipped as part of Government plans to reduce numbers of lost and stolen dogs and promote responsible dog ownership.
In addition, all puppies have to be chipped by the time they are eight weeks old. Similar legislation was introduced in Wales in March 2015 and Northern Ireland made microchipping dogs compulsory in 2012.
The new law has been widely publicised in the media, but in the past 24 hours it is this viral photo which has had most success in spreading the message and has been picked up by police forces up and down the country.
Vet Nishi Jani said: “Microchipping is by far the most effective reunification tool for lost pets and especially because it typically costs less than £20 and lasts a lifetime.
“The system sees a tiny identity chip, the size of a grain of rice, inserted under the skin that can be scanned by a vet, dog warden or charity if the pet strays and the owners’ details can quickly be accessed. The microchip can’t be removed like a collar or tag so it offers the pet a permanent method of identification.
“However, at the moment there are still lots of dogs that aren’t microchipped and each year hundreds of lost pets are brought into our practices that don’t have chips or they have chips that contain out of date contact details. In these instances we often have to rely on our active Facebook communities to help, and we currently reunite more than 10 pets every week with their owners through social media.
Finally, Nishi says: “The penalties for ignoring the microchipping legislation are severe. When a dog without a microchip is brought to the attention of the authorities, it’s likely that the owner will be issued with a deadline to have it chipped, but after this they could be fined and even prosecuted, so it’s not something that should be ignored.”