Government is looking at several options on microchipping:
a) Microchip all puppies (governments preferred option)
b) Microchip all dogs on change of owner only
c) Microchip all dogs on change of owner and then after a period of time for all dogs to be microchipped
d) Microchip all dogs within a year of the legislation coming into effect (Dogs Trust’s preferred option)
e) No change to the current voluntary situation.
Dogs Trust believes that compulsory microchipping of all dogs should form a central part of any future policy on tackling irresponsible dog ownership. Microchipping will not prevent attacks but we believe that it is the most effective way to link a dog to its owner and to make irresponsible owners accountable for the actions of their dog. Dogs Trust research shows that 83% of the UK population believes all dogs should be microchipped - it is hard to understand why government is so reluctant to take this step now.
And on a broader welfare note, we want to see microchipping made compulsory for all dogs in order to help reduce the burden we, and many other charities, face in dealing with stray dogs. Dogs Trust has been leading the campaign calling on the government to introduce compulsory microchipping for all dogs in the UK and a requirement for owners’ details to remain up to date on a national database.
Microchipping is the most effective way of ensuring lost dogs are returned to their owners. However of the 8.2 million pet dogs currently in the UK, more than a third remain unidentifiable. This poses a serious welfare issue. In 2011 local authorities took in over 121,000 stray dogs, of those dogs taken in by authorities last year, 6,404 were put to sleep. Dealing with these dogs cost a combined estimate of £25.9 million worth of taxpayers and charities’ money. If more dogs were microchipped, more could be returned to their owners and the cost to authorities would be vastly reduced, as well as ease the stress and worry to dogs and their owners.
Dangerous Dogs Proposals
Lack of Preventative Measures
Dogs Trust wanted to see the government introduce a new, practical, consolidated piece of legislation that actually works to prevent dog attacks by introducing Dog Control Notices.
These measures would force an owner to take reasonable steps to control their dog after aggression has been demonstrated but before an attack has taken place. This could include training, muzzling, microchipping and neutering. Practical, useful actions that would ensure the dog was being kept under better control and not a danger to anyone. Dog Control Notices are already being used in Scotland.
Extending the Law to Cover Private Property
Dogs Trust supports the extension of the law onto private property in the most severe of cases, as thousands of postal workers, midwives, utility workers and others who have to go into people’s homes in the course of their duties are attacked by dogs. However, we will be emphasizing to government that this will not prevent dog attacks. It may act as a deterrent to some as it will punish the owner of the dog.
Attacks on private property are already covered by the Dogs Act 1871 but this is a civil rather than a criminal matter and it provides no compensation for the victim and no punishment for the owner of the dog.
However, we do not believe the owner of the dog should be prosecuted if the victim is not there lawfully (i.e. a trespasser) nor if there was provocation to which the dog responded.
In the absence of a repeal of breed specific legislation, Dogs Trust would like new provisions to be introduced that would better improve welfare for dogs that could be deemed to be of ‘type’.
We therefore welcome the proposal to allow the police to leave the dog with the owner (if the dog is not deemed to be a threat to public safety and the owner is responsible) pending any court case. This helps improve welfare as the dog does not have to spend indefinite amounts of time in police kennels and saves the police and ultimately the tax payer money on kennelling costs.
However, we would like to see this go further to further to allow owners who have dogs suspected of being of type, to apply to the courts directly for the dog to be placed onto the Index of Exempted Dogs, subject to police behavioral assessment. This would mean the dog could stay with its owner but would have to be neutered, muzzled in public, microchipped, tattooed and for the owner to have third party liability insurance.
What can I do?
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