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Deadlines Approach: Dog Owners in Wales Urged to Get Pets Microchipped

18 February 2015

UK - With deadlines for compulsory microchipping in the UK nearing, pet owners in Wales are being reminded to ensure their dogs are chipped and details kept up to date, writes Gemma Hyland.

In September 2014, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans, announced that the previously publicised date for the compulsory microchipping of dogs in Wales of 1 March 2015 was unlikely to be met.

"In 2012, we undertook a consultation on microchipping dogs in Wales and the overwhelming majority of respondents were in favour of legislating to achieve this," said Ms Evans.

"Since then, work has progressed with key stakeholders and specific areas of the policy have been developed which have needed further attention.

"I have decided that a further eight week consultation will be required to take wider views on some of the specific elements we are proposing to include in the Regulations.

"These include enforcement, implantation of the microchips, and how any information gathered is recorded."

The Pet Food Manufacturers Association’s 2014 survey estimated that there were 690,000 dogs in Wales, with approximately 66.6 per cent (approximately 460,000) of those already microchipped.

The decision to introduce compulsory microchipping is just one aspect of the Welsh Government’s work to improve dog welfare. In 2010, Welsh Government legislated to ban electronic shock collars and from 30 April 2015, new standards will be introduced for licensed dog breeders.

Vets also recommend that cats are microchipped to ensure that they can be swiftly reunited with owners if they become lost or injured away from the home.

cat looking upReuniting lost pets with owners

BVA President and vet Robin Hargreaves said: “The ability to reunite stray animals with their grateful owners is a highlight of working in veterinary practice.

"We’ve had lots of animals brought into the surgery without owners and people are always so relieved to get a call saying their pet has been found.

“If the animal is injured it’s even more important that we can locate the owner quickly so we can make decisions about treatment.

“Microchipping is an essential part of responsible ownership and the cost is relatively small. The introduction of compulsory microchipping is a giant leap for dogs and their owners and is something that vets have long campaigned for.

“But microchips are only as useful as the information on the database and so it’s essential that owners realise that they must keep their details up to date.”

Microchipping in the UK

Northern Ireland

Compulsory microchipping became a requirement for a dog licence from 9 April 2012 (Dogs (Amendment) Act (NI) 2011).

Wales

The Welsh Government consulted on proposal to introduce compulsory microchipping of dogs in August 2012. 84 per cent of respondents supported the proposal.

Following delays the Welsh Government proposes to introduce legislation requiring the compulsory microchipping of dogs in Wales by the spring of 2016.

England

In 2013 the government announced that from 6 April 2016 all dogs in England would have to be microchipped.

Scotland

The Scottish Government has recognised the benefits of microchipping in helping to reunite dogs with owners and can require owners of dangerous or out of control dogs to microchip their dogs by the issue of a Dog Control Notice. The Scottish Government consulted on the possible introduction of compulsory microchipping for all dogs in early 2014 and will seek to announce next steps in 2015.

Gemma Hyland, Editor

Gemma Hyland, Editor



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