Did you know that every dog in the UK must be chipped by 2016? If you have a pet and it’s not microchipped yet then make sure you make your vet appointment soon to get your pet microchip, otherwise you could face a fine of up to £500. The new legislation has been welcomed by the RSPCA and is intended to lessen the load for animal welfare charities by making it easier to find stray pets and identify the owners of pets who are being neglected or mistreated. But a spokesperson for the RSPCA explained that chipping alone would not ensure fewer dog bite incidents or make owners act more responsibility, insisting that more must be done to train new dog owners in how to properly look after their pets.
As a dog owner, there are certain things that should be done in order to keep your pet safe, secure and healthy – in other words to treat them with the respect they deserve – and getting them microchipped is just one of these things. Owen Patterson, the Environment Secretary at the helm of the new proposals called it ‘ludicrous’ that thousands of dogs were in kennels because their owners could not be found and called pet microchipping a ‘simple solution’. In addition it was also proposed that new laws be brought in which would make it possible for dog owners to be prosecuted if their pet attacks someone on private land.
According to statistics from Dogs Trust compiled in 2011-12, almost 120,000 stray dogs were found by or given in to animal welfare charities. Of those, less than 56,000 were returned to their owners and less than 7000 had been microchipped. Almost 7000 stray dogs were put to sleep and almost 2000 dogs were destroyed due to dangerous behavioural problems.
The new law will become effective from April 16th 2016 and will cost around £20 at a veterinary surgery, but some charities are offering a pet microchipping service for free, including Battersea Dogs Home, Blue Cross and the Dogs Trust. In addition the Dogs Trust will send free microchips to vets around the country, but it’s not clear whether surgeries will charge to insert the chips.
Dogs Trust CEO Clarissa Baldwin said that of the 16,000 dogs that the Trust look after each year, only a tiny fraction had been chipped. Speaking to the Today Programme on Radio 4, Baldwin explained that pet microchipping would allow lost pets to be returned to their owners quickly and easily and would help put worried owners minds at ease.
Pet microchipping is already compulsory in Northern Ireland and Scotland and Wales are also expected to follow similar proposals over the next few years. A pet microchip is completely unique and contains all the information needed to find the owner if a pet is lost, including their name, address and contact details. So if you want to show your pet the respect they deserve and ensure you keep them as safe as possible then get them microchipped!