New figures from leading charity highlight disappointing take-up of canine microchipping laws introduced over two years ago.
Research released by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home revealed less than one in three stray dogs found by or taken to local authorities are microchipped with accurate contact details for their owner.
Even more worrying is that 35% of stray dogs do not have any microchip, despite the law requiring owners to microchip their dog introduced more than two years ago. According to its latest research, Battersea found 29% of stray dogs collected from our streets by local authority dog wardens are microchipped with up-to-date details, a decline from 31% last year.
Battersea chief executive Claire Horton said: “It’s very worrying that two years after compulsory dog microchipping was introduced by the Government, many stray dogs are still found without a microchip.
”Microchipping is such a simple, painless procedure for dogs, and many rescue centres, including Battersea, provide this service free of charge. It can save an awful lot of heartache for any pet owners whose dog does run off and will prevent thousands of dogs ending up homeless every year.”
As well as encouraging pet owners to get their dogs microchipped, Battersea also wants to see microchip providers and vets do more to promote the importance of keeping details up to date.
Ms Horton added: “We are also concerned by an issue that has emerged in this report, which is the number of stray dogs that have foreign microchips. This should be further investigated to determine if this is a problem caused by the international puppy trade or if breeders are purchasing microchips from overseas to cut costs.
“If it is assumed a link exists between the provenance of the chip and the country from which the dog has originated then a protocol may be required for handling and rehoming dogs with foreign chips from countries where rabies is endemic.
”Ideally, the establishment of a database to register dogs imported into the UK would help to confirm that these dogs have entered the UK legally and have had the correct vaccinations.”