A change in the law has been announced this week by DEFRA that requires all dogs in England to be micro-chipped by 2016, in attempt to cut the seemingly uncontrollable rise in strays.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), both members of the Microchipping Alliance, have long since backed the campaign for compulsory microchipping for all dogs in England. Both associations maintain that microchipping is a safe and effective method of identifying stray dogs and linking them back to their original owner, which is perhaps one of the most effective methods of reuniting pet and master.
BVA President Peter Jones, commented:
“The introduction of compulsory microchipping is a giant leap for dogs and their owners and is something that vets have long campaigned for. Microchipping is a safe and effective way to link dogs to their owners and is an essential part of responsible ownership.”
While BSAVA President Mark Johnston added:
“The ability to reunite stray dogs with their grateful owners is a great thrill in veterinary practice, and so we warmly welcome today’s announcement.
“But microchips are only as useful as the information on the database and so it is essential that owners realise that they must keep their details up to date.”
The microchips will contain vital information regarding ownership details and should pet owners not comply, they could be faced with a hefty fine of up to £500.
Relieving the Pressure
The government have revealed staggering figures which suggest that over a 100,000 dogs are abandoned or lost every year, and this in turn costs the tax payer and animal welfare charities around £57 million.
The RSPCA has shown its support for these latest government proposals, but has also stated that this alteration to the law is unlikely to make owners any more responsible on its own. Ministers however firmly back the plans, suggesting that more dogs will be reunited with their owners and, in turn, relieve pressure on the currently over-whelmed animal charities.
Costs to Owners
These changes are due to come into effect from the 6th April 2016 with dog owners being strongly encouraged to act before this in order to avoid the heavy fines. Costing a mere £15 – £20 at private veterinary clinics, micro-chipping is a simple procedure that brings peace of mind throughout your dog’s lifetime and is a relatively cheap fee to pay in terms of dog ownership.
Animal charities such as Dog Trust and Blue Cross are currently offering a free microchip service to encourage owners even further.
One major worry, that was voiced by Dogs Today’s editor Beverly Cuddly, is that many owners fail to update the details on the microchip should they change. This can result in stray dogs having inaccurate data on their chip, resulting them remaining in shelters rather than being reunited with their owners.
Northern Ireland saw compulsory micro chipping introduced last year, whilst Wales chose to reject the new legislations due to questions surrounding its effectiveness.
If you haven’t already, there’s no better time to get your four-legged friend chipped or, if you already have, make sure the details associated with the chip are up to date. Find out how to do it from our step by step blog post here.