A West Lancashire dog owner has been ordered to pay a total of £1095.65 inclusive of costs after being prosecuted for not having identity discs on his dogs and failing to have their microchip details updated correctly.
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court heard that two Shih-Tzu type dogs were collected by West Lancashire Borough Council's stray dog kennelling contractor. These dogs were found to be microchipped but neither chip had any details recorded on it and neither dog was wearing an identity disc.
These dogs were collected from the Council's kennelling contractor by Daniel McGrath, of Broad Lane, Downholland.
Dog owners can face an unlimited fine if their dog is not wearing an identity disc in public. If they have more than one dog in public without identity discs they can face separate fines for each dog.
It is also a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped and the owner’s contact details kept up to date. Anyone failing to meet these requirements can be served with a 21-day legal notice ordering them to get their dog chipped and updating the Council to confirm once this is done. Failure to comply with the notice can result in prosecution and a fine of up to £500 per dog. Dogs with microchips where the owner has failed to keep their contact details up to date will be deemed not to be microchipped.
The Council served legal notices on Mr McGrath requiring him to update the animal's microchips so the compulsory ownership details were recorded on them.
These notices were not complied with leading the Council to start court proceedings against Mr McGrath.
Mr McGrath did not attend court and was found guilty in his absence. He was fined £660 and ordered to pay costs of £369.65 and a victim surcharge of £66.
The Council learned on the morning of the trial that one of the dog's microchips had been updated 15 days before the trial, but the other one still had no details. The Council was not notified of this by Mr McGrath as the notice required him to do so. The Magistrates were made aware of this on the day of the trial.
Councillor Kevin Wright, portfolio holder for Community Safety, said: "The Council takes its role with regards the laws around dogs very seriously. So be warned, dog owners who fail to comply with the legislation could face heavy fines.
"When a dog is microchipped it can help trace who the keeper of the dog is. This may assist in reuniting dogs with their keepers or trace the keepers of dogs involved in attacks."