Compulsory microchipping for pet dogs welcomed by charity
NEW rules which will introduce compulsory microchipping for pet dogs have been backed by charity Jerry Green Dog Rescue and the RSPCA.
From 6th April 2016, any owner whose dog is found without a chip and can be traced by local authorities will be given a short amnesty period in which to have the dog microchipped or face a fine of up to £500.
The proposals aim to cut the number of stray dogs with government figures showing that more than 100,000 dogs are dumped or lost each year, costing the taxpayer and charities £57m annually.
Jerry Green Dog Rescue's Chief Executive David Foulds has supported the announcement.
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He said: "We welcome compulsory microchip legislation, which is something we’ve been supporting and lobbying for through the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH).
“All our centres are equipped to microchip dogs, as having a microchip greatly increases the likelihood of lost pets being reunited with their owners.
“This year, in response to the passing of this Bill, we will carry out all microchipping for free to encourage people to abide by the law.”
Microchipping involves inserting a small electronic chip the size of a grain of rice between the dog’s shoulder blades using a sterile needle.
The chip carries information about the dog, including the name and address of its owner, and can be read using a simple scanner available at most veterinary surgeries and dog rescue centres.
The RSPCA also welcomed the announcement but warned preventative measures are needed to improve dog welfare.
David Bowles, head of public affairs, said: “Compulsory microchipping and extending the law to cover private property as well as public spaces is a welcome move.
“However, on their own we don’t believe they will reduce the number of stray dogs, make owners act more responsibly to their dogs or ensure fewer dogs bite people or other animals.
"The Home Office proposals on anti-social behaviour do not provide sufficiently early intervention and could label some dog owners as anti-social when their failing may only be a lack of understanding.
“The number of warnings the RSPCA issued to dog owners due to poor welfare last year was up by 12% on 2011, while the number of dog bites that required hospitalisation has gone up by 26% in the past four years.
"If the Government is serious about tackling these very real problems then, we don’t see how today’s proposals will help reduce either of these figures.
“We have always said that prevention is better than the cure. This was Defra’s opportunity to finally tackle the big issues, but instead we believe they have merely tinkered with the existing legislation rather than make the comprehensive reform that dog law enforcers were calling for.
“The RSPCA is also concerned that too many dogs are still spending too much time in kennels after being removed by enforcement agencies such as the police while their fate is being decided through the courts. These measures do little to tackle this."