It is hoped that compulsory microchipping will help to reduce the amount of stray dogs in England, with current figures showing that over 100,000 dogs are being lost or dumped every single year resulting in costs of over £50m to the taxpayer and animal rescue charities.
If the owner of a dog found without a chip can be traced they will given a short period of time to ensure their dog is microchipped but owners who do not comply with the new law could face fines of up to £500.
Although it is hoped that the new law will have a positive effect on the amount of stray dogs being reunited with their owners, animal welfare organisations have been quick to state that they do not believe compulsory microchipping will solve the nations stray dog problems:
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: “It’s ludicrous that in a nation of dog-lovers, thousands of dogs are roaming the streets or stuck in kennels because the owner cannot be tracked down.”
He added: “Microchipping is a simple solution that gives peace of mind to owners. It makes it easier to get their pet back if it strays and easier to trace if it’s stolen.”
About microchips in dogs
Microchips contain contact details for a dogs owner and having a microchip implanted in your dog is a quick and easy process that can help to ensure your dogs safe return if he or she was ever to get loose.
What is microchipping?
A small chip, the size of a grain of rice, is inserted between the shoulder blades of a dog using a sterile needle
The procedure does not require an anaesthetic and is no more painful than a standard vaccination
The chip is coated in a bio-compatible glass, the same material used in human pacemakers, which is not rejected by the dog’s body
The device fuses to the dog’s bodily tissue, meaning it will not move around
– Source: BBC News
Microchipping usually costs around £20 but thanks to charities such as Dogs Trust and some RSPCA branches, it can be done at a reduced rate or sometimes even for free.
Dogs Trust will be donating free microchips to veterinary clinics around the country, although it is currently unclear whether vets will charge to implant them.
If your dog is not currently microchipped we suggest contacting your local RSPCA branch, Dogs Trust, PDSA, Blue Cross or your vet to find out more about getting it done. It doesn’t take long and could save your dogs life.