Compulsory Microchipping – Your Views (Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of the opinions regarding compulsory microchipping!

As I state in my last article I was amazed at the overwhelming amount of responses I’ve received the last few days.

The reason I wanted to bring this out and ask the public was to help bring awareness that the idea of microchipping is one which virtually all dog owners agree on. However when you look at the mechanics of the proposed legislation, well, there aren’t any! If it continues like this, it will have no effect. I want owners to be aware of this and voice their opinion.

Here I list some of those responses;

DTlogoRachael Millar – Acting Editor of Dogs Today Magazine

“We’re really pleased the government wants to introduce methods to make it far easier for missing dogs to be reunited with their owners, however unfortunately it has chosen to bring in a half-measure that simply will not have the desired effect.

Under current proposals, scanning for chips by dog wardens, highways agency staff, police, vets, and other professionals playing a large role in the reunification process, will not be compulsory.

We are also still none the wiser as to whether a chip will become proof of ownership with the dog.

This significantly lowers the chances of microchipped dogs coming home to their families.

We are also still none the wiser as to whether a chip will become proof of ownership with the dog. This would help greatly in cases of dog theft, which are sadly on the rise.

We’d like to see a joined-up law that will achieve what it has set out to do – reunite lost and stolen dogs with their owners as soon as possible.”

dog wardens 047Dave Griffiths – Dog Warden & Environmental Protection Officer – East Hants District Council

“I have read your article and totally agree with your views. Yes, this is something that MPs have inferred will end all dog problems and, of course, this is not the case. As you have noted, there are already laws about Collars and Tags yet there are still vast numbers of dogs without them – part of the reason for this is that Local Authorities are reluctant to initiate an expensive court case for something that is likely to result in a paltry fine for the owner and have very little deterrent effect. Maybe the Government will learn lessons from this when writing the microchipping legislation and consider fixed penalty fines as an option.

For a long time, I have been in favour of a compulsory insurance/registration system for dogs based on the same principles as car registration.

With the intended new legislation, there would need to be emphasis on keeping details up to date rather than just having a dog chipped.

People complain that this would be unfair because of the cost to dog owners but, if the minimum requirement was a 3rd party insurance, this would not be excessively costly or, if combined with full pet insurance, would be something that a large number of owners already participate in. Yes insurance is costly but so is a sudden vet bill.

Of course, microchipping would be an element of such a scheme and, as such, details would have to be kept up to date; one of the major problems with microchipping these days is that details are not updated when people pass a dog on or move house. With the intended new legislation, there would need to be emphasis on keeping details up to date rather than just having a dog chipped.

As I have said, compulsory microchipping is not going to solve all problems but, if legislated properly, it will become a proof of ownership. This is the major benefit of the scheme as it identifies the owners of dogs that cause problems. Currently, it is very difficult to prove ownership and thus easy for owners to wriggle out of responsibility for their dog’s actions.

I am hoping that there will be facility in the legislation for breeders to have their dogs microchipped and the breeder’s details to be kept on the record.

We are yet to see what the Government will come up with but any scheme must be resourced to allow proper and viable enforcement. Without this, it will be the Collar and Tag legislation repeated and will rarely be used.

Maybe all the back street breeders of Staffies and Staffie crosses (I’m only picking on these as they are the current “fad” and rescue homes are full of them) should take some responsibility or, at least, be made aware when the puppies that they are churning out end up in rescue homes or Council kennels with little chance of being rehomed.

We are yet to see what the Government will come up with but any scheme must be resourced to allow proper and viable enforcement. Without this, it will be the Collar and Tag legislation repeated and will rarely be used.

This legislation is not a cure-all and does not go far towards solving the increasing problems caused by irresponsible importation, breeding and ownership of dogs in this country but, if written and funded sensibly, it could be a step forward.”

1013100_631627576848130_66235704_nRic Beall – Solicitor and owner of Great Danes

“Compulsory microchipping would appear to be introduced with the best intentions and as such would be a step in the right direction. However, the requirement has been introduced together with a package of measures which deal with dogs posing a danger to the public and one can’t help but wonder whether this is a political knee-jerk reaction to the recent spate of dog attacks. As with all legislation the devil is in the detail and at the moment we only have a picture painted with broad strokes. The government state that the purpose of this legislation is to reduce the number of strays which may pose a danger and a drain on the public purse.

At first blush, it strikes me that there are likely to be numerous difficulties in policing and enforcing such requirements.

The sentiment is admirable, but can only really be achieved where the details contained on the microchip are full and accurate at all material times.

Ideally, the system will assist as strong evidence of ownership, but of course this is dependent upon responsible owners being required to update the details contained on the chip within strict time limits. At first blush, it strikes me that there are likely to be numerous difficulties in policing and enforcing such requirements. It may become the case that irresponsible owners, at whom the legislation is aimed, will fail to update registration details leaving a previous owner or breeder potentially liable. As a member of the dog showing fraternity I shall be interested to see how such a central registration system shall coexist with that currently operated by the Kennel Club for pedigree dogs and the impact this may have upon the the concept of “legal” owner as opposed to “registered” owner.”

Other Responses:

“Where puppies are concerned, compulsory microchipping could work wonders for ensuring safe lifelong care. Microchipping serves to protect not only those puppies who may become lost but also the thousands who are stolen or even abandoned each year. For me there are no negative outcomes of the introduction of compulsory microchipping, only positive results in the form of millions of protected dogs throughout the UK.” – Laura, Bournemouth@ThePuppyTails

“The debate on compulsory microchipping of dogs like an excited spaniel continues to go round in circles. The benefits however are clear in that it will help lost dogs be reunited and irresponsible owners be taken to task. Owning a dog is a serious matter and not to be taken lightly.” Stuart, Harrogate@HarrogateDogs

“Compulsory chipping is a good idea. Needs to be promoted in a positive light e.g. easier to trace lost or stolen dogs but consequences of poor ownership etc. highlighted and possibly clear legislation re penalties.

Who is to be responsible for the cost of chipping? Buyer/seller? Free via animal welfare? Should chipping become part of vaccination appointments? Should wardens, park patrol or even community police be able to do on the spot checks for chipping and If dogs not chipped should they offer the owner the choice of on the spot chipping or face a fine? None of the logistics seem to have been thought through on how it will all be implemented.

Mine are both chipped. Both have been attacked twice by bigger dogs. I wish the attacking dogs had been chipped so they could be traced to a register to raise alert of issues of ownership control/care of aggressive behaviour of their dogs.

Amanda, London – @is_cam_24

Twitter Responses:

 

Well that’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and gave you some insight to the benefits, the concerns and opinions for the future of microchipping.

It seems to me that this concern is only a small part of a much wider issue on animal welfare. But as dog owners, keepers and professionals we need to ensure that we are aware of them and speak up for those who can’t.

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