A Featherston dog owner is upset at being lulled into a false sense of security with a faulty microchip in his dog, and believes councils should alert owners.

However, South Wairarapa District Council has said they would make every effort to return dogs to their owners, chipped or not.

When Peter Love took his dog into the vet for a parvo-virus injection the vet checked the microchip response of the dog and found to their surprise, no response.

"It puts the dog's life at risk," said Mr Love.


He said dogs could be picked up by the council dog control officer, impounded and then destroyed because there would be no way of identifying the owner because of a faulty chip.

He said he wanted to alert other pet owners of the situation.

"The product has failed and the public needs to know."

In a letter to South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples, Mr Love said fellow pensioners, compelled by the council, at a cost of $55 to have their pets microchipped, were under a false sense of security. "I believe that it is the council's responsibility to alert dog owners to this unbelievable situation.

"How many more elderly, and not so young, dog owners within the council's boundaries are in this false sense of security about their dogs? The thing is that the local body know about it and they should do something about it."

Earlier this year, TV show Fair Go discovered the electrical impulse in a batch of Virbac 'BackHome' microchips eventually stop working.

Vets at South Wairarapa Veterinary Services were aware of the problem.

A statement on the vet service's website states vets had found and replaced "a few" faulty microchips in South Wairarapa clinics during the normal course of their work.


Less than 4 per cent of Virbac chips were estimated to be faulty.

Mr Love's dog has since had a new chip implanted.

Dogs that are roaming, waiting to be rehomed, or are found injured are taken to the pound by council bylaw officers.

Registration tags and microchips were then used help officers locate the owners as soon as possible.

Mrs Staples said microchip failures were rare and every effort was made by the council to find the owners of lost dogs.

"We don't just pick up dogs off the street and put them down. We go to the trouble to go and find the owners of the dog."

The council did not have a microchipping service, said Mrs Staples.

"We are required to enforce the Dog Control Act that requires people to microchip their dogs, we have nothing to do with the chips. I would not see it as our immediate responsibility, (but) of course we are interested in dogs being able to be traced."

Mrs Staples said in her 10 years on the council, she had never had any complaints about faulty microchips before.

Do I have faulty microchip?

South Wairarapa Veterinary Services says if you are concerned you may have a faulty chip, contact them to check your pet's microchip(s).

Pet owners should check microchips if their microchip numbers start with 90000 8800 or 90000 8800 and go up to 90000 8800 259208. If the microchip is faulty, Virbac will cover the costs of its replacement, including any associated veterinary bills.