In April this year, it became compulsory by UK law for all dog owners to have their pets microchipped. But why has this measure come into force? Here we take a look at the primary reasons that the 2016 dog microchipping legislation has been introduced.
Irresponsible Dog Owners
If you're a pet owner, chances are your furry pal is loved, looked after and considered a part of your family (or if you’re anything like us, they’re probably the focal point of it). There are, however unfortunately, many less scrupulous dog owners who sadly aren't so considerate of their pet's welfare, health or it's behaviour. When dogs are not properly socialised or trained, they can display negative behaviours that are a symptom of their upbringing and that aren't conducive to them being allowed out in public. Unfortunately, these types of dog owners are also not particularly good at coming forward when their dogs have displayed these behaviours to other animals or even people, and part of the reason for the new law is to hold those responsible for the dogs’ behaviour accountable for their irresponsibility in their pet’s upbringing.
Unscrupulous Dog Breeders
As though terrible and neglectful owners weren’t bad enough, there are actually people who are equally, if not more terrible when it comes to dog welfare. Dodgy breeders who give no consideration to the health of puppies and are in the business solely for the cash are unfortunately on the rise in the UK. Heartbreakingly, over the past few years so called ‘puppy farms’ have been hugely on the rise, as have the number of puppies imported to the UK from disgraceful conditions in Lithuania, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Ireland – all of which are known to have large scale puppy farming operations. Dogs sold by these people are often separated from their mothers far too soon and/or have diseases such as parvovirus, resulting in unnecessary suffering for the pet, and costly vet bills for their new owners….if they’re lucky enough to survive. In order to help crack down on these horrific and abusive practices, it is hoped that the introduction of compulsory microchipping will allow authorities to better track the origins of such criminal activity and those individuals behind it. By monitoring trends in the information contained in microchips, such as previous listed owner details, police and animal welfare authorities will be able to identify and shut down negligent practices as early as possible.
On the other, more positive side of the fence, perhaps the main reason for microchipping amongst responsible and caring pet owners is so that they are much more likely to be reunited with their beloved companion should they become lost. When your pet is a part of your family, having them missing for even a few short hours can be a traumatic and heartbreaking experience. For responsible owners, it's extremely comforting that local authorities will now be equipped with scanners and relevant equipment so that they can return dogs to their concerned owners much quicker than they would have been able to previously. Whilst this is a benefit, it isn't the main reason why this law has been introduced, although it was one of the points made during the campaign to clamp down on the number of dogs being chipped.
It is now your responsibility as an owner to get your dog chipped, and also to ensure the information is kept up to date in a relevant database so that you can be accurately tracked and reunited with your dog.