Vets across the country have hailed the introduction of compulsory microchipping for all dogs in England as a giant leap forward for dogs and their owners.
Defra has announced that from 6 April 2016 all dogs will be required to have a microchip, giving owners over 3 years to comply with new legislation that will be drafted by Defra.
Vets, through associations such as The British Veterinary Association and British Small Animal Veterinary Association have long campaigned for microchipping to be compulsory for all dogs and both associations are members of the Microchipping Alliance, which has brought many organisations together to lobby for new legislation.
Microchipping is a safe and effective way to permanently identify a dog and, through registration on a database, the dog can be linked to its owner and quickly reunited if it goes missing.
At Donaldson’s, about 60% of the cats and dogs currently registered with the Practice are microchipped.
Compulsory microchipping will significantly reduce the number of lost and stray animals being kept by local authorities and charities at enormous cost. It will also mean that animals which are injured while straying can have their ownership confirmed quickly. This can be absolutely essential in an emergency situation.
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 Government also announced plans to extend the scope of the Dangerous Dogs Act to private places and to allow police to decide if dogs seized under the Act can stay with their owners until the outcome of the court case, removing the need for these dogs to be kennelled. It is hoped that allowing dogs to stay with their owners during court proceedings will significantly reduce the number of innocent dogs unnecessarily kennelled by the police simply because of “the way they look.”