Why do I hear the term keeper rather than owner?
The owner of the animal may not necessarily be the person with whom that animal normally resides, meaning that the owner and keeper of a dog can be two different people. Similar to V5 Documentation for registration of a car, the term keeper is used. Therefore, the keeper is the person with whom the dog normally resides, it is this person’s contact details that must be registered alongside the microchip number on the database and is the person referred to for the purposes of the legislation. This is also the person who will be held ‘liable’ for any dogs registered to them.
So who is considered the keeper?
- Newborn puppy - The owner of the bitch that gave birth to it.
- Assistance/service dog - The body responsible for its training and allocation, until that dog is retired after which the keeper is the person with whom the dog normally resides.
- Any other dog - The person with whom the dog normally resides.
But I have no fixed address, what do I do?
There may be occasions where keepers may have no fixed abode, making registration difficult. It has been suggested that some charities, or a close contact of the person, may be able to register their address and contact as the keeper of the dog in this instance, but further guidance is currently still required.
My dog has been imported - what do I do?
Any dog being imported must be microchipped within 30 days of arrival. All dogs being imported should already be microchipped, however it is important to ensure that the microchip is registered to a compliant database with the required keeper details after arrival. Dogs arriving from outside the UK from the USA may also not be implanted with a compliant microchip, as the USA uses different protocols to the UK. If keepers find their dog's microchip is not compliant, then they must seek advice from the Welsh Department of Agriculture. In most circumstances keepers should elect to have a second compliant microchip inserted and have both microchips registered to a compliant database, as most scanners used in the UK may not be able to read encrypted or non-ISO microchips.
I run a rescue/boarding kennels – do the dogs residing with us need to be transferred into our name whilst they are staying with us?
There may also be some instances where a dog may only be residing somewhere temporarily or longer term, for example rescue centres, boarding kennels or veterinary surgeries. Further guidance is required, but in the case of rescues or dogs boarding long-term at a kennels, it may be sensible that dogs are microchipped and the rescue/kennel is listed as the keeper whilst the dog is under their care. The new keeper should then update their details with the database once the dog has been rehomed.
What happens if the breeder registers the new owner as the first keeper instead of themselves?
The breeder must always be the first registered keeper of the puppies and it will be illegal for the breeder to not be listed as a keeper on the database. The breeder must also provide microchipping documents to the new owner when a puppy is bought to ensure they can update their details in order to comply with the law.
What happens if the puppy I give to the new owner doesn’t match the microchip number?
All breeders must ensure they can clearly identify the correct microchipping paperwork for each puppy being sold to a new owner and that the number of the microchip matches the number on the paperwork.
What do I need to give the new keeper when I sell/rehome a puppy/dog?
You must ensure you provide paperwork to the new keeper to enable them to update their details with the database in order to comply with the law. Ideally this should be the confirmation of registration document from the database, as it will contain all the information required for the new keeper to be able to do this. If the current keeper has decided to undertake the transfer of keepership themselves, then they should provide the new keeper with details of the database where the microchip is registered, as well as information on how the new keeper can expect to receive the new confirmation of registration document.
What happens if I don’t have the required paperwork by the time I sell the puppy?
Breeders should be able to provide the new keeper with the confirmation of registration from the microchip database at the time of sale. As the puppy has to have a compliant microchip implanted, and the required details must be registered onto the database by the time it is 8 weeks of age, breeders need to allow enough time for registrations to be processed before the puppy is sold. For this reason we recommend that breeders choose the online registration option, and that they provide an email address when registering to enable the confirmation document to be sent by email. Use of paper forms and the postal service increases the time it takes for registration and may result in delays in these documents being sent to breeders. If the breeder has decided to undertake the transfer of keepership themselves, then they should provide the new keeper with details of the database where the microchip is registered, as well as information on how the new keeper can expect to receive the new confirmation of registration document.