Dog owners in Sefton are being offered the chance to get their pet micro-chipped for free as part of an initiative by Merseyside Police and the Dogs Trust to promote responsible dog ownership.

The chipping is quick and easy to carry out and does not hurt the dog in any way.

Police and partner agencies are offering the free service to anyone who brings their dog along to North Park in Bootle today (Friday, 7 August) from 12-4pm as part of the Boofest event, South Park in Bootle from 1-4pm on 21 August during the South Park Fun Day, or Moorside Park in Great Crosby from 12-4pm on 5 September.

It follows a rise in dog bites on people in the past three years across Merseyside, some of which have resulted in serious injuries and in fatalities.

Officers who are trying to tackle the problem have analysed all the incidents and estsblished that a growing number of dog-related incidents are happening in public parks rather than people’s homes.

In the past three years the summer months in particular have seen a rise with most dog bites against people and other dogs happening between 11am and 5pm when the parks are busiest.

Merseyside Police, Sefton Council and Dogs Trust believe that owners getting their dog or dogs micro-chipped is a sign that they want to be a responsible dog owner and ensure their dog does not attack another dog or a person.

Micro-chipping enables that particular dog to be linked to its owner and if the dog ever goes missing or is stolen but found by the police or a dog charity, it can be scanned and returned to its rightful owner.

Inspector Karen Dowden, from Bootle and Crosby neighbourhood, said: “We are absolutely determined to reduce the numbers of children in Merseyside being hurt by dogs. It is crucial that we educate owners about what it means to be a responsible dog-lover.

“This can be anything from getting the dog properly trained from an early age, keeping it a comfortable, spacious and secure part of your property, taking it for regular walks to socialise with other dogs and burn off some energy, and get it chipped, neutered and insured.

“By working with the Dogs Trust and the Guide Dogs for the Blind to offer a free chipping service we are also hoping to get the opportunity to speak to dog owners in our local parks and make sure they are aware of all the dog legislation, are aware of the advice and have the opportunity to ask our specialist officers any questions they might have.

“We are lucky to have some fantastic parks here in Sefton and everyone has a right to enjoy them in a safe and legal way without being in fear of being approached by an aggressive or out-of-control dog. This is one part of a wider operation we will be carrying out in August and September to help keep people safe and raise awareness and I’d encourage people to come along and see us.”

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