CaptureDOG owners are being reminded that their pampered pals will soon need to be chipped to comply with the law.

From Wednesday, April 6 it will be compulsory for all dogs over the age of eight weeks to be microchipped, and their owners required to keep their contact details up-to-date records.

If the authorities become aware of a dog without a microchip, a legal notice may be served on the animal’s keeper requiring it to be chipped.

The keeper may also face criminal prosecution and a fine of up to £500 if they fail to comply with the notice.

Anyone breeding dogs will also be responsible for microchipping puppies before selling or giving them to new keepers.

Breeders will be required to register their own details and these will be recorded against the microchip for the life of the dog. The only exemption is where a vet has certified in writing that a dog is unfit to be microchipped.

All imported dogs will need to have a microchip.

There are currently around eight million pet dogs in the UK of which nearly 60% are already chipped.

However, lost and stray dogs still cost the taxpayer and welfare charities £33 million per year.

To help dog owners in Middlesbrough comply with the new regulations, the Council is holding a series of FREE microchipping clinics run in conjunction with Dogs Trust.

Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Adult Health and Social Care, said: “Dogs are cherished companions for a great many people, so it’s only right that we look out for their welfare, and do all we can to ensure others are protected when things go wrong.

“I hope these new regulations will help reunite owners with lost or stolen pets, relieve the burden on animal charities and local authorities and protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible dog ownership.

“I would urge anyone with a dog that hasn’t been microchipped to take advantage of our free chipping sessions over the coming months.”

The clinics will take place between 11am and 3pm at the following venues:

Monday, February 29

Thorntree Park, Spencerfield Crescent, Middlesbrough TS3 9HR

Tuesday, March 29

Langridge Initiative Centre, Langridge Crescent, Berwick Hills, Middlesbrough TS3 7LU

Wednesday, April 27

North Ormesby Hub, Derwent Street, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough TS3 6JB

Tuesday, May 24

The Pod, Hemlington Recreation Centre, Cass House Road, Middlesbrough TS8 9QW

Tuesday, June 28

Trinity Church, Stainsby Road, Whinney Banks Middlesbrough TS5 4JS