The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is issuing a warning about a website advertised on Google search results that offers pet microchip registration.
The service, called UK Pet Chip Registry, claims that for a charge of £15, it will add the pet’s microchip details to the so-called National Pet Microchip Registration Database. The database quoted does not meet UK Government standards and, as such, is not on the list of government-endorsed pet databases.
Failure to register a pet on an authorised database carries a fine of up to £500.
CTSI issues this warning at a time of increased pet sales due to the desire for companionship during the COVID-19 lockdown. In November, the Dogs Trust reported large rises in demand for puppies and Google search results for “buy a puppy” increased by 115% since the beginning of lockdown.
CTSI Lead Officer for Animal Welfare, Steph Young, said: “It is vital that when purchasing a puppy, members of the public must register the chip on one of the 15 databases verified by the UK Government. If they do not, they risk a fine of up to £500.
“The database quoted by UK Pet Chip Registry does not conform to UK Government standards and signing up to it alone puts the user at risk of a fine and the needless cost of the money used to pay for it. The public should always follow government guidance, not paid-for adverts on search engines.”
Katherine Hart, a fellow Lead Officer at CTSI, added: “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a great deal of opportunism and in many cases outright scams. Many people suffer from loneliness during the lockdown, and purchasing a furry companion is an increasingly popular option.
“We are all so much more vulnerable now. The public must be increasingly vigilant, sceptical and above all, check the law and UK Government advice when making these decisions. Ignorance of the law excuses no one – make sure you register your pet on a verified database.”
You can find the list of pet database authorised by the Government here.
For consumer advice, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.