Government to implement compulsory microchipping in England and Wales
The Kennel Club has today pledged to gift microchip scanners to every local authority in England and Wales in support of the government’s decision to introduce compulsory microchipping for all dogs.
The Kennel Club manages Petlog, the UK’s largest lost and found database for microchipped pets, which was established to help reunite lost dogs with their owners. As such it is delighted that microchipping will soon be mandatory for all dogs, helping to promote animal welfare and responsible dog ownership and bring dogs and owners back together more quickly and effectively.
The government’s announcement of a package of measures to promote responsible dog ownership includes the introduction of compulsory microchipping for all dogs as secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 from 6 April 2016, the extension of section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to all places including private property, and the removal of the requirement to seize prohibited dogs which the police do not consider to be of risk to the public.
In its commitment to support the successful implementation of compulsory microchipping in England and Wales, the Kennel Club and Petlog will be donating microchip scanners to each local authority over the next two years in time for enactment of the legislation, in order to help identify keepers of dogs and reduce costs in kennelling stray dogs until an owner can be found.
This comes as the Microchipping Alliance, of which the Kennel Club is a member, estimated that annual cost savings to local authorities relating to dog welfare alone could be between £20.8 million and £23.2 million from the first year of introducing legislation.
The Kennel Club has campaigned as part of the Microchipping Alliance to make permanent identification compulsory for all dogs since 2009. The Microchipping Alliance comprises a number of animal welfare charities, assistance dog charities, veterinary organisations, dog membership organisations, and other organisations affected by dog issues, and it today welcomed the Government’s long-awaited announcement.
The Alliance believes the introduction of a requirement to permanently identify a dog through compulsory microchipping will go a long way towards improving the current situation surrounding stray dogs by minimising the need for unidentified lost dogs to be rehomed. This is supported by a survey undertaken by the Kennel Club in 2011 looking at the effects of compulsory microchipping in 23 countries, which found that almost all reported a significant drop in the number of stray dogs once this had been introduced.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “The Kennel Club has always been dedicated to reuniting dog and owner through Petlog, and holds National Microchipping Month each June to educate those involved with dogs on the benefits of microchipping. This June we will be celebrating our 10th year of this campaign.
“After speaking with dog owners around the country we are confident compulsory microchipping will be well received. A recent Kennel Club survey highlighted public support for compulsory microchipping, with almost 90% of people strongly in favour.
“Compulsory microchipping will go a long way towards improving welfare by reuniting stray and lost dogs with their owners more quickly whilst also providing government with solutions to a number of issues relating to irresponsible dog ownership. It is also hoped that microchipping will help keep a record of where each dog has come from to improve traceability, and in turn assist with health and welfare issues such as puppy farming.”
Regarding the other measures announced in the government proposals, the Kennel Club supports the principle of making dog bites on private property an offence. Greater responsibility would thereby be placed on owners to ensure that their dogs are not out of control, with the understanding that it is not acceptable for an owner to allow their dog to behave aggressively either in the home or out in a public place. Postal workers and health visitors for example, regularly visit private properties without necessarily being known to the dog or landowner, and should be able to do so safely.
Mrs Kisko added “The extension of existing law to cover private as well as public land would ensure greater responsibility is placed on owners to ensure that their dogs are not out of control in any place, which should be more effective in preventing bad behaviour escalating and incidents from occurring. We hear of many case of neighbours having reported incidents involving dogs on private property that went on to cause serious injury. However, we would stress that regardless of legislation, no dog should ever be left alone with a child, regardless of its breed or previous behaviour.”
The Kennel Club also greatly supports government plans to remove the mandatory requirement to seize and kennel all dogs believed to be ‘of type’, but maintains that breed specific legislation is fatally flawed and unworkable. Many dog bite incidents are due to the irresponsible actions of owners, who have either not taken the time and trouble to train their dog correctly, or have indeed trained them to behave aggressively. Consequently any legislation based on genetics that ignores the influence of the dog’s keeper on its behaviour is likely to be ineffective.
For more information on the Kennel Club’s campaign work on dog law visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/kccampaigns.