In light of today’s statement by the UK Government regarding new mandatory regulations to have all dogs in England microchipped in the future, The Dog Express takes a closer look at what is involved, who will the regulations apply to and is it the perfect solution?
What is Microchipping?
Microchipping your dog couldn’t be easier and there are many schemes in different countries across the globe offering either free of part funded chipping for pets. The Dogs Trust will be offering free microchipping at 18 of its centres across the UK, but having the minor procedure carried out at a vets will only cost £15.00 – £20.00.
The procedure is very simple and involves a small microchip being implanted between the dogs shoulder blades, just under the skin. The microchip has an integrated circuit which identifies the dog when a scanner is passed over the area and the owners details are electronically stored in the microchip data (think along the lines of how you self-scan your shopping at the supermarket!)
The chip is approximately the size of a grain of rice and uses a wireless, non-contact system known as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. The chip is considered extremely safe when implanted into dogs and other animals and systems are in place to track any adverse reactions, which have previously been quoted as one in a million.
Who Does the Compulsory Regulation Apply To?
The UK Government announced today its new measures to tackle irresponsible dog ownership. These will include regulations requiring all dogs to be microchipped. So far this regulation will only extend to England and will be in force by 6th April 2016.
Other countries who have already led the way with compulsory microchipping for dogs include France, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Denmark and also several states in Australia.
Statistics and Benefits
Of the countries already imposing mandatory microchipping of dogs, the statistics look very positive. Microchipping Alliance states that “Sweden have been able to reunite 90% of stray dogs with their owners within 24 hours due to the compulsory microchipping”.
The benefits of having your dog chipped should be quite clear, hence why 58% of the UK have already had their dogs microchipped, despite it being optional at the present time. The main benefits include:-
- Reuniting you with your dog should they run away
- Reducing the number of strays dogs on the streets and in shelters
- Reducing the number of dog euthanized each year
- Ability for authorities to enforce regulations and responsibilities with owners
- Deterrent to dog theft
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Is It A Good Idea?
This may seem like a strange question; but not all of the opinions surrounding compulsory microchipping are positive. My own opinion is that I am definitely for it, especially as a person whose dog is an escape artist and has evaded his lead on a number of occasions. Not having my dog microchipped would definitely mean he would not be with us today. In addition to this I am for compulsory microchipping as a whole and believe it should extend to all dog states and not just the few current EU ones and future UK.
However, I struggle to see how this can be policed? Those responsible dog owners who love their pets will most likely have had them microchipped already, or they certainly will before the regulations come into effect. But those who are not responsible owners, the ones whose dogs need microchipping the most, are unlikely to take the time, effort or cost of getting this done and how can every single dog owner be tracked and enforced? They also do not want to be tracked down through the data on their dogs microchip should they neglect or knowingly abandon them.
My second concern is just a personal one and speaks more to the sad state of mind of someone who commits acts of animal cruelty. These people have no regard for the law or regulations and are, in my opinion the lowest of the low to hurt defenceless animals. However, if they have dogs in the future who are microchipped (because a large percentage will be once this becomes compulsory), they may not just abandon the dog as they would in the past, for fear it will be picked up and tracked back to them. They are more likely to fatally harm the dog and dispose of it to prevent backlash!
My concerns regarding microchipping however, do not out-way the positive aspects and I am all for it……but what do you think?
Please give us your feedback on this subject below – What do you think about compulsory microchipping?