Plans to make dog microchips compulsory in Scotland took a major step forward yesterday, as legislation is laid before the Scottish Parliament.
The law change – which received overwhelming support in a public consultation last year – is due to come into effect in Scotland in April 2016, the same time as in England and Wales.
Under the new rules, dog microchips will become compulsory, the dog microchips will be linked to their owners’ details and kept in a database. Owners will need to ensure that their details are kept up to date.
Between December 2013 & March 2014 Scottish Government held a consultation on responsible dog ownership and received a huge total of 2,378 responses. 83% of the responses strongly supported compulsory microchipping.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said
Today marks an important milestone towards compulsory microchipping, which will help reduce the number of lost and abandoned dogs in Scotland – safeguarding animal welfare and promoting responsible ownership.
As well as reuniting pets with their owners, it will allow authorities to directly identify dog owners and hold them accountable for their dogs’ behaviour and welfare.
With less than six months to go until the law changes, I encourage all dog owners to ensure that their dogs are microchipped and, just as importantly, that their details are up to date.
Ahead of the new rules coming into force, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is offering free microchipping to all unchipped dogs in Scotland at mobile drop-in events and at its two rehoming centres.
Dogs Trust Veterinary Director Paula Boyden said
For many years Dogs Trust has been working with the Scottish Government to bring about the introduction of compulsory microchipping. We are therefore very pleased to welcome the legislation, which will improve dog welfare and responsible ownership.
As the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, reducing Scotland’s stray dog population of over 1,400 dogs is at the very heart of Dogs Trust’s ethos. This is why we have committed to ensuring dog owners have access to free microchipping at our two Scottish rehoming centres in Glasgow and West Calder, or at one of our many drop-in events across the country.
So far this year Dogs Trust has microchipped over 11,000 dogs across Scotland. We continue to remind owners that no matter how responsible they are, there is a chance their dog could get lost or stolen – microchipping is the most effective way to assist in a lost dog being returned to their owner. However, to enable this it is important that owners keep their database details up to date.
Getting your dog microchipped is painless and as simple as getting them inoculated. The dog microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is injected in to your dog, usually in the back of the neck above the shoulder.
If your dog is not yet microchipped then you can contact Deveron Vets in Turriff and Macduff
30 Balmellie Street
or check the Dogs Trust Chip My Dog website for information about their drop in centres.