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Compulsory microchipping for dogs

(26 Posts)
Defra Thu 11-Jul-13 17:02:37


From April 2016 all dogs in England will have to be microchipped. This is primarily a welfare measure to ensure that dogs who stray or go missing can be reunited quickly with their owners, saving the animal the stress of going into a kennel (or potentially being put to sleep) and a lot of heartbreak and worry for the owner.

If your dog isn't chipped, you can get this done for free at any Dogs Trust, Battersea or Blue Cross centre.

Is your dog microchipped? What was your experience of the chipping process? Have you had any experiences of having your dog reunited with you through its chip?

Abra1d Thu 11-Jul-13 17:05:16

All four of our dogs have been microchipped and it's about the first thing we organise when we get a new pup. I couldn't bear the thought of losing a dog but at least a chip might mean that we'd be reunited.

I always half wonder if I put my naughty dog through the supermarket checkout scanner whether I'd see on the display: Bad terrier, 9kg.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 11-Jul-13 17:05:38

Hello dear journalist.

Yes my dogs chipped thanks for asking. Sadly I can't give you a heart warming story of a reunion as he's never got lost.

Part of responsible ownership and glad it's being made compulsory.

Hope legislation tackles backyard breeders and puppy farms next. But probably not enough money in that for chipping companies and vets etc.

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 11-Jul-13 17:19:29

Just marking my place as I am off out to work now, but yes all of my dogs (and cat) are chipped and we were contacted via the details on the chip when the terrier did a Houdini whilst at the dog sitters, although he was at a local vet so would've been found anyway, but it did make life easier for all involved.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Thu 11-Jul-13 17:24:38

all my dogs and horses have been chipped. had it done at the same time as they were spayed so they were under anaesthetic at the time.

Defra Fri 12-Jul-13 10:55:58

Thanks all. I'm not a journalist, I work at Defra, where we're working closely with the Pet Advertising Advisory Group to improve the quality of advertisements for pets that appear on internet trading sites like Gumtree and Friday Ad. PAAG has developed minimum standards for the sale of pets on the internet which we broadly support, and we're encouraging the advertising sites to apply these standards - we hope this will go some way to tackle irresponsible breeders.

D0oinMeCleanin, I'm glad to hear you got your terrier back!

EauRouge Fri 12-Jul-13 11:05:59

I don't have a dog yet but I do have two cats and they are chipped. One question I have is what (if anything) can be done about owners who do not change the chip details if the pet changes homes? I've heard so many stories about a lost cat/dog who is scanned, only to find the address is wrong or the people whose details are on the chip are no longer the owners. Compulsory chipping is pointless if the details are not going to be kept up to date.

Defra Fri 12-Jul-13 11:09:25

Hi EauRouge - I totally agree. We will be working with pet welfare charities like Dogs Trust and Battersea, as well as the British Veterinary Association, to work up some information on the importance of this which we will share with people well ahead of the April 2016 deadline. I agree that there is little point in chipping if details are not kept up to date!

D0oinMeCleanin Fri 12-Jul-13 11:19:14

They both escaped. The dog sitter is used to large, lazy greyhounds, not troublesome terriers. She left him in her garden for half an hour while she went inside to make some phonecalls.

When she got back, the terrier and the small whippet x had gone. The Whippet was quickly located. She had heard children playing in the next street and gone to join in. A parent took her to the local vet, to be scanned and when she had a chip from our town and not where she was, the vets contacted the dog sitter (because she runs a rescue) to ask if she knew how the dog had ended up so far from home, on the off chance she had been handed to her rescue.

The terrier was deposited at the same vets a few hours later but scanned by a different vet nurse, so they didn't put two and two together.

The dog sitter hadn't contacted us, because she knew all the local pounds and rescues so was certain she'd find him and didn't want to worry us unnecessarily, so was waiting a day to see if he turned up first.

The vets contacted our mobile while we were away. We passed on the details of the pet sitter and gave permission for her to collect him and she got him at the same time she picked up the Whippet, they were in neighbouring crates, so she would have seen him when she collected the Whippet, but knowing he was there meant she didn't have to spend the night worrying he might have been kept by a well meaning stranger assuming he was stray.

They will be staying there this summer holidays, she has now terrier proofed her garden and we will be adding her contact details to their microchips, they will also get new tags for their collars with her details on as well as my parent's details, as we will be out of the country this year.

The whippet was done as a puppy, it was very quick and didn't seem to bother her much. It was included in the price of her puppy pack. The terrier was chipped by the pound we adopted him from before we took him home. Again it was very quick and simple and free as part of the adoption.

Like Beer, I think it is simply part of responsible dog ownership and I am glad that it is being made compulsory, but wrt welfare, regulating breeding would have a far bigger impact.

I appreciate your efforts to tackle irresponsible breeding and advertising live animals on Gumtree etc but imo it's not going anywhere near far enough to improve the welfare of dogs sold and given away via such sites. Encouragement hasn't worked with chipping, hence the legislation.

Abra1d Fri 12-Jul-13 11:21:36

I was laughing about people not recognising 'Defra' too. Perhaps they mis-read as 'Debra'.

Defra Fri 12-Jul-13 11:24:13

Thanks D0oinMeCleanin - quite a story!

Would you be happy for me to share it with other dog lovers on ?

It shows the importance of chipping - and of having a good relationship with your local vets!

D0oinMeCleanin Fri 12-Jul-13 11:47:10

Yes, I'm happy for it to be shared. I've found dogs before who have not been chipped or had old details on their chips and I hate (and normally refuse) to hand them to the pound, so I understand how important it is to not only chip your dog but also to keep the chip updated.

On ours we have our main mobile number and my parent's home phone number as we are often out and about and might be out of contact, where 99% of the time there is always someone in my parent's house.

Can I ask how you are going to enforce this? Also a lot of people still don't know how to go about finding their missing dog. The last dog I found I told the lady she had been added to DogsLost and several local FB rescue and selling pages within an hour of being found (and also reported to the local dog warden), this lady had never head of DogLost so had spent the night laying awake worrying while waiting for the council to open. If she'd known about DogLost, she could have had her dog back within a few hours.

Some more publicity for organisations like DogLost woud be great as well as info on responsible breeding and rehoming of animals and banning the sale of live animals in free ads and the internet.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 12-Jul-13 11:55:56

I did recognise "defra" and do know what it means. Just didn't think such an official body would actually join MN and start such a thread without stating who they are, etc or paying for an official research type thread.

The op does read like a journalist digging for a story. smile

VivaLeBeaver Fri 12-Jul-13 11:57:19

Years ago I briefly name changed to DepartmentOfHealth for a spoof thread. Doesn't mean I actually am the department of health.

scarfaceace Fri 12-Jul-13 11:58:30

Our dog was chipped at the breeders before we collected her, but we would have had her chipped anyway.

What annoyed me was, when we moved house and went to change the details, Petlog charged £10. There was no way around it and I think £10 is a lot for a change of address. (They try to make it sound like a good deal because now I can change our details as many times as I want in the future for free!) But I can imagine that some people will just not bother if that's the cost. In my opinion it should be cheaper than that.

Defra Fri 12-Jul-13 12:00:32

Sorry VivaLeBeaver - should have made it clearer! blush

Defra Fri 12-Jul-13 12:05:52

Thanks D0oinMeCleanin, I've shared your story.

This is not about heavy-handed enforcement, but if a dog is found without a chip their owner will be told to get their dog chipped - and if they don't, the owner will incur a fine (and be made to get their dog chipped anyway).

I must confess I didn't personally know about DogLost - so I'm sure many others must not either - I'll definitely start pointing people in their direction. Thank you for the excellent tip.

Defra Fri 12-Jul-13 12:17:12

Hi scarfaceace - thanks for sharing your experience. I'm interested to hear that you think the £10 fee might put people off changing their details, as I would have thought £10 was a relatively small amount when considered in the context of the overall cost of owning a dog (food, vets bills, grooming, etc). I think PetLog sometimes waiver the change of address fee (they did this recently for microchipping month in June) so they might do it again next year?

moosemama Fri 12-Jul-13 14:08:49

All my dogs have been chipped.

My old collie cross went through a spate of getting into next door's garden via their dodgy fencing (from there could get into the local park). She did it three times in total and each time was found, but never scanned to check if she was chipped.

The first time she got out was just after she'd had an operation on her neck, so she wasn't wearing a collar. She ran to a local dog club, which is very close to our house, but as she wasn't wearing a collar they couldn't call us. Instead some people took her home, kept her overnight and called the dog warden in the morning. We were in a right state, sure we'd lost her forever or she was lying dead somewhere by then.

No-one thought to have her scanned to check for a micro-chip. Fortunately we phoned the dog warden within seconds of them calling to report her found. Although there was some confusion initially, as they described her as a GSD puppy, whereas she was actually a Belgian Shepherd x Border Collie and 10 years old! It was only when we described her in detail, including the neck op, that the warden put two and two together.

The second and third times she was caught in the park right behind our house within minutes of escaping - in fact before we realised she'd gone, so by the time we ran around to the park to look for her (literally minutes) she'd gone. Both times the people that found her took her back to their own homes to call us, obviously using the number/s on her tag - and both times she was back with us within the hour.

So in our case, her micro-chip didn't play a part in getting our dog back, but I will still continue to get all my dogs chipped, as it could have been a very different story.

(Oh - after the third time (and me sobbing all over them blush) the neighbours finally got their fencing sorted out. We would have done it ourselves, but he was a builder/fencer and we'd just paid nearly £5,000 to have the other two sides of our garden fenced.)

Madratlady Fri 12-Jul-13 14:16:23

I don't have a dog but both my cats are chipped because it's part of responsible ownership and I would be heartbroken if they got lost.

Compulsory microchipping is in my opinion a good idea and I think that dog licences should be reinstated, and possibly licences for all pets. It would stop people just rushing out and getting a cute puppy without thinking if they had to apply for a licence first. It needn't be difficult to get or expensive, but it would make people think before getting a pet.

Defra Fri 12-Jul-13 14:25:44

Wow moosemama, you sound like you've got a very spirited collie cross on your hands! Glad you got her back (and the neighbours got their fencing sorted).

moosemama Fri 12-Jul-13 14:53:43

Sadly, she's no long with us - but yes, she was a character right to the end. Hence them thinking she was a pup at the age of 10! grin

RebeccaMumsnet England (MNHQ) Fri 12-Jul-13 16:33:17

Hi there,

We have moved this thread to our media requests area following several reports.

Many thanks for the reports.

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