Final countdown to compulsory microchipping.
Scotland's top vet has urged dog owners not to leave it to the last minute to get their animal microchipped, ahead of new laws coming into force next month.
From April 6, it will be compulsory for all dogs in Scotland to have a chip with their owners' details registered and kept up to date in a database complying with certain conditions.
The change in legislation has been highlighted by Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas at a free Dogs Trust microchipping drop-in session in Perth. She said:
"In just over a month's time, it will be compulsory for all dogs to have a microchip and for owner details to be registered and kept up to date. This will reduce the number of lost and abandoned dogs in Scotland – helping to safeguard animal welfare and promote responsible ownership.
"The microchipping procedure is very quick and largely painless, and can be done for free at Dogs Trust mobile drop-in events such as this one. In addition, many veterinary practices are offering special deals. The clock is ticking, and so I urge dog owners not to delay or leave it until the last minute to get their animal chipped and ensure their contact details are up-to-date."
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead - the Scottish Government Minister with lead responsibility for animal welfare – added:
"Scotland is a nation of animal lovers, and mandatory microchipping has received overwhelming public support. As well as reducing the number of lost and abandoned dogs in Scotland, this law change will allow authorities to directly identify dog owners and hold them accountable for their dogs' behaviour and welfare."
Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director said:
"For many years Dogs Trust has campaigned tirelessly to bring about the introduction of compulsory microchipping and registration. We are very pleased to welcome the legislation, which means that by 6th April all dogs in Scotland must be microchipped, which will go a long way to improving dog welfare and responsible ownership. Dogs Trust has been offering free microchipping at our 21 rehoming centres, two of which are in Scotland, and at events just like this for many years, and will continue to do so by appointment after April 6th. As the UK's largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust is striving for the day when all dogs can be free from the threat of unnecessary destruction. Microchipping is the most effective permanent way to assist in a lost dog being returned to their owner which in turn reduces the number of healthy dogs unnecessarily put to sleep."
The Scottish Government's intention to make microchipping dogs compulsory was announced in March 2015: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Chip-in-16dd.aspx. The regulations were laid before the Scottish Parliament on December 2, 2015: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Mandatory-dog-microchips-1ff9.aspx
More information about microchipping can be found at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/animal-welfare/AnimalWelfare/companion/PromotingresponsibledogownershipinScotlandmicrochi
Details of the Dogs Trust free microchipping offer can be found at www.chipmydog.org.uk
The Scottish Government consultation on 'Promoting responsible dog ownership in Scotland: microchipping and other measures' ran from December 2013 to March 2014 and received a huge total of 2,378 responses. The results of the analysis of those responses was published in October 2014. More than 83 per cent of people who responded to the Scottish Government's consultation on responsible dog ownership strongly supported compulsory microchipping: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/10/4357
The Scottish Government has long recommended in the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs that microchipping is an effective method of identifying animals that can help re-unite dogs with owners where the dogs have been lost or stolen.
Northern Ireland made microchipping of dogs compulsory from the April 1, 2012. Scotland, Wales and England will introduce it in April 2016.
*Dogs Trust 2015 Stray Dogs Survey