Thousands of much-loved family pets go missing every year and sadly many of them never find their way home. If they’re lucky they’ll go to an animal charity and be adopted by a new family but many others are euthanized or killed in an accident as they roam the streets. There’s one, really simple thing owners can do to help protect their pet from this uncertain fate – microchipping.
Blue Cross has been campaigning for the introduction of compulsory microchipping for dogs for some time now along with other charities, veterinary organisations, and dog breeders. We believe that due to the huge number of dogs that stray and are abandoned every year, owners should be required by law to permanently identify their dogs. In our opinion the best way of doing this is by microchip. Over the last 12 months the Blue Cross has microchipped over 5,300 animals at our centres and hospitals. But there is still a long way to go yet!
A microchip is a tiny device, slightly bigger than a grain of rice, which is implanted under the skin on the back of a pet’s neck, just in front of the shoulder blades. Each microchip has a unique number which can be read with a scanner. This number matches a record on a database which contains the owner’s contact details so that they can be contacted straightaway and reunited with their pet. A special device will be used to inject the microchip under the skin. It’s a quick and painless procedure that shouldn’t hurt any more than a regular vaccination.
Animal charities and local authorities use scanners to check stray animals for microchips. If the animal is not chipped it’s almost impossible to reunite them with their family. By microchipping your pet, you’ve got a much higher chance of seeing them again if they go missing and it would mean fewer animals were being destroyed because no home can be found for them.
In 2011 over 127,000 stray dogs were picked up by local authorities. Many of these were able to be returned to their owners because they were chipped, but many were destroyed simply because there was no way of knowing if they had an owner that was missing them. A voluntary scheme can only go so far, and due to the huge numbers of dogs currently being bred and sold, we feel that making microchipping compulsory is the only way to ensure that we can better manage the welfare of theUKdog population in the future.
Compulsory microchipping would also reinforce the principles of responsible pet ownership. Blue Cross consider that anyone that takes on a dog should be prepared to care for, provide for, and take responsibility for that animal for the rest of its life. Sometimes that’s just not possible, and under those circumstances we advise people to contact an animal rescue organisation to seek help.
Our pets give us companionship, love and affection. The very least an owner can do is to be prepared to take responsibility for their pet during its lifetime. Please ensure that you microchip your pet.
If you agree with the Blue Cross that microchipping should become compulsory for all dogs please do tell the government what you think by following the link below.
Rachel Cunningham, Blue Cross