Dog owners in Hartlepool are being reminded to make sure they get their animals microchipped before new legislation comes into effect next month.
From April 6, dog owners could be hit with a £500 fine and a criminal conviction if their dog is not chipped.
The initiative Microchipping March has been raising awareness of the new law, which aims to minimise the amount of stray dogs and help lost pets find their way back home.
The change in law is also designed to prevent illegal breeding and reduce pressure on animal welfare centres.
Amy Wilson, charity manager at Support Adoption For Pets, said: “We cannot express the importance of getting your dog microchipped. It is to the owner’s advantage and gives peace of mind that your family dog can be returned home.
“We advise anyone in Hartlepool with a dog to check out their local vets and pet shops, as many are running reduced cost or even free microchipping.”