Microchips will soon be compulsory for English dogs
According to Government figures, more than 100,000 dogs are lost or abandoned every year. While a depressing, anger inducing statistic in its own right, this amount of stray dogs roaming the streets ultimately costs taxpayers and welfare charities £57 million annually.
Fortunately, the Government announced in February last year that, from the 6th April 2016, it will be compulsory for dog owners to microchip their dogs. In Wales, micro-chipping for dogs will be compulsory from the 1st March 2015. This legislation has been created in coordination with the UK’s largest dog welfare charity; Dogs Trust, in order to ensure that the system rolls out smoothly nationwide. The involvement of Dogs Trust also ensures that free microchips will be available for the roughly 40% of dogs in the UK that have not yet been chipped. To add further perspective, that’s around 3.2 million dogs that would presently be untraceable if lost or stolen!
Simple, painless, effective
The size of a grain of rice, each of the microchips in question is coded with a unique number, and injected into a dog’s skin, between its shoulder blades, utilising a sterile needle. Designed to be as painless a procedure as possible, the injection of the microchip is quick, and doesn’t require anaesthetic. The unique number is entered into a national database, alongside the owner’s details. This way, a dog’s owners can be easily traced by authorities, should something unfortunate occur.
Microchips can be injected, as well as scanned and read, in most animal welfare groups, veterinary practices, and by most local authorities. While having your dog micro-chipped will normally set you back between £15 and £30, Dogs Trust currently offer a free canine micro-chipping service, available from any of their Rehoming Centres.
The Safer Option
This new legislation reflects a growing commitment to make the streets safer by minimising the number of stray animals roaming freely and covertly, allowing them to be tracked and re-homed easily, and humanely. Crucially, compulsory microchips for all dogs also allow the owners of abandoned dogs to be identified and prosecuted; punishing them for both potentially endangering the public, and for being particularly cruel in the treatment of their innocent pets.
Of course, the ability to identify a dog’s owner goes both ways, as well as punishing the negligent or cruel, it also allows caring, responsible owners to be reunited with their pooch should they get lost or stolen. In this way, microchips act as a lifeline between owner and pet.
Better than a certificate
As well as protecting the safety of both public and dogs, microchips can also reduce uncertainty or fraud when it comes to dog breeding; allowing for a record of a dogs pedigree, as well as any hereditary conditions or diseases, to be associated with the microchip of the dog in question; essentially allowing a record to be kept with the dog at all times.