WHEN I was a little girl my Dad used to tease our dog (stay with me here, I know it’s a stretch) when his annual dog licence became due.

Dad used to tell him that he would be illegal without it and that the police would be out looking for him.

Of course the dog just stared back at him completely nonplussed wondering if there was a treat in this somewhere, whereas as I was mortified.

I was filled with dread that my beloved dog would be hauled away by the constabulary to who knows what fate.

Dad would eventually renew the licence and I would pin it to the noticeboard in the kitchen so everyone knew my dog was legal.

It was a system designed to stop the strays which were everywhere when I was a child.

People used to just open the back door in the morning and leave their dogs outside all day, hence we had streets full of dog mess and packs would gather whenever there was a poor bitch in season.

That was the reality then and the police hadn’t a hope in hell of managing it through a dog licence.

More recently local authorities introduced dog wardens.

Strays were rounded up and sadly many were destroyed.

Now we also have the Dangerous Dogs Act which aims to protect us from those that see dogs as some sort of trophy, or those that just don’t know how to look after their pet properly.

A new piece of legislation is due to come into effect in April and it takes me right back to my Dad and the dog licence.

From then EVERY dog must be microchipped so that owners can be traced.

And owners that don’t comply can be fined up to £500.

A legal loophole will also be closed which means that owners could be prosecuted for an attack by their dog on private land, because currently if a dog attacks someone in its owner’s garden, the owner is immune from prosecution.

However owners will be protected if their dog attacks a burglar or trespasser on their land.

The new law comes into effect on April 6 and it will help those people who have genuinely either lost or had their pet stolen.

Sadly however I agree with the RSPCA which says that while welcome, this new law won’t alone make owners more responsible or ensure fewer dogs bite people or other animals.

As someone whose own dog has been attacked by other accompanied dogs whilst out walking in Wilmslow, I can empathise with this view.

Why, when their pets are clearly inclined to attack other dogs don’t they keep them on the lead, why risk it?

I don’t think we will ever sort the problem entirely because we can never understand the mentality of people who think it’s alright to let their dogs roam or potentially bite humans or other dogs.

Anyway, for those responsible dog owners out there - you have three months to get your dog legal.

The chip is sterile and about the size of a grain of rice, it is inserted between the dog’s shoulder blades and doesn’t require anaesthetic.

Keeping the data on the chip up to date is another issue they will have to address at some time.

Currently some charities offer free microchipping or it will costs £20-£30 at a private vets.