By April 2016 every dog owner in England will be legally required to have their dog microchipped.
From that date, every puppy born will need to be microchipped by the breeder by the time they are 8 weeks old (other than in exceptional circumstances).
It will also be a requirement for every dog owner to ensure their dog’s microchip details are kept up to date on a government compliant database.
The Kennel Club and other animal welfare organisations have long supported compulsory microchipping in order to aid the reunification of lost dogs with their owners. There have been too many examples of much loved family pets being put down before the owner can be found.
The vast majority of people, including responsible dog-owners, will welcome these new requirements. I rather suspect that they will not be welcomed by irresponsible dog-owners and backyard breeders.
The compulsory microchipping legislation hopes to tackle:
· The 100,000 dogs that are either stray, lost or stolen each year
· The huge kennelling costs - Local authorities and welfare charities spending around £57 million per year on kennelling costs
· The 50% of strays that cannot be returned because their owners cannot be identified
· The 6,000 dogs that are put down each year because the owner cannot be found
For these reasons microchipping is already popular amongst the majority of dog owners as it is a safe, quick, painless and cheap procedure.
However, if, for whatever reason, you haven’t had your pet microchipped, this is a timely reminder to do it. And, if you’ve moved home or changed your contact details, have you also remembered to update the database so that you will comply with the law? Do it now.
Whilst we are on the subject of animals and the law, there were a number of things missing from the Queen’s Speech.
David Cameron again promised new laws to ban wild animals in circuses. A Bill was prepared in the last session but never introduced to parliament. I’ll be pursuing him about this.
The Conservative manifesto also committed to giving Parliament the opportunity to repeal the Hunting Act on a free vote. No sign of it. Good.