Next month sees the introduction of new legislation in Wales, making the microchipping of all dogs compulsory. Whilst this legislation is not due to come into force until a year later (April 2016) in England, this decision will affect anyone who likes to holiday in Wales with their dogs, and is planning to do so, in the next 12 months. Worth bearing in mind, also, for those of us who have already booked a Welsh break, without being aware of it.
The Welsh Government blog article announcing this is reproduced below:
The decision follows a public consultation in 2012 in which the Welsh Government sought views on its plans to introduce compulsory microchipping for all dogs. The overwhelming majority of respondents were in favour of the move.
Alun Davies, Minister For Natural Resources And Food, said:
“It is increasingly important that we have a method of tracing dogs back to their owner. Dog owners already have a duty of care under the Animal Welfare Act but it can be difficult to ensure that this duty is being met without a reliable form of identification.
“By microchipping all dogs in Wales we can formalise the relationship between an owner and pet and ensure an increased level of accountability.
“The response to our consultation on the issue was overwhelmingly in favour of our plans and I have therefore decided to proceed with the making of Regulations that will require all dogs in Wales to be microchipped by 1 March 2015.“
Compulsory microchipping could:
- Improve animal welfare by making it easier to return a stray dog to its owners
- Develop responsible dog ownership by ensuring greater traceability of owners
- Help to establish liability and prove ownership
- Assist in control measures in case of diseases that can be passed from dogs to humans
- Deter dog theft
In 2010/11 over 126,000 stray dogs were collected by UK Local Authorities and over half (52%) could not be returned to their owners because they were unidentifiable.
Of the estimated 450,000 dogs on Wales, it is estimated that some 58% are already microchipped. This means that there are approximately 190,000 dogs that would need to be microchipped prior to March 2015.
The Welsh Government estimates that it is possible to have all dogs microchipped within a year of Regulations coming into effect. The Minister will therefore introduce Regulations in due course in order to allow dog owners 12 months in which to get their dog micro-chipped.
In England compulsory microchipping will not come into force until April 2016.
The Minister welcomed the support of Dogs Trust who have said they said will seek to offer free microchippoing to the majority of dog owners in Wales prior to the Regulations coming into force. More information on this is available from the Dogs Trust at www.dogstrust.org.uk.
The decision to introduce compulsory microchipping is just one aspect of the Welsh Government’s work to improve dog welfare. The Welsh Government has already legislated to ban electric collars, is bringing forward Regulations setting new standards for licensed dog breeders and is currently considering consultation responses to its Control of Dogs Bill.