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Scotland to Introduce Compulsory Microchipping for Dogs

10 March 2015

UK - All dogs in Scotland will need a microchip, under planned changes to the law announced last week by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.

Compulsory microchipping will help reunite lost or stolen dogs with their owners and allow authorities to directly identify dog owners and hold them accountable for their dogs’ behaviour or where there are concerns about animal welfare.

The move – which received overwhelming support in a public consultation last year – is due to come into effect in Scotland in April 2016, the same time as in England and Wales.

Ahead of the new rules coming into force, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is offering free microchipping to all unchipped dogs in Scotland at mobile drop-in events and at its two rehoming centres.

Mr Lochhead – the Minister with lead responsibility for animal welfare – said: “Scotland is a nation of animal lovers, and so we must do all we can to safeguard dog welfare and promote responsible ownership.

“The owners of out of control dogs can be required to microchip their dogs under existing legislation, and I understand that around two thirds of the dogs in Scotland have already been microchipped on a voluntary basis.

“In 2014, over 10,000 dogs across these islands were reunited with their owners as a result of a microchip. This is an impressive figure, but it could be improved on dramatically by ensuring that all dogs are microchipped, and, equally important, that their details are kept up to date.

“I can now confirm that compulsory microchipping will be introduced in Scotland next year, after it was overwhelmingly backed in our public consultation. This will be a huge help in reducing the number of lost and abandoned dogs in Scotland.

“I very much welcome generous free microchipping offer made by Dogs Trust ahead of the new legislation coming into effect. I would encourage all dog owners to ensure that their dogs are microchipped and that their details are up to date.”

Elvira Meucci, Campaigns Director at Dogs Trust, said: “Dogs Trust greatly welcomes the introduction of compulsory microchipping for all dogs in Scotland from April 2016. We have long been a leading voice in the campaign for compulsory microchipping and are delighted to see the Scottish Government legislate for this important component of dog welfare and responsible ownership.

“As the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, reducing the nation’s stray dog population is at the very heart of Dogs Trust’s ethos, which is why we have committed to ensuring no dog owners will lack the financial ability to microchip their dog.

“Dog owners can get their dog chipped for free by appointment at our two Scottish rehoming centres in Glasgow and West Calder, or at one of our many drop-in events across the country which will run until the legislation comes into force. Of course, we also always stress at these events that a microchip on its own is not enough, and owners must ensure that they keep their details up to date.”

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