Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food
Following my announcement in April 2013 on compulsory microchipping of all dogs by the 1 March 2015, I will be bringing forward legislation after Easter 2014 to make it a compulsory requirement for all dogs to be microchipped as of 1 March 2015.
Creating a clear link between a dog and its owner will help to encourage responsible dog ownership and will also ensure the welfare of that animal is not compromised should it stray or be injured. Whilst dog owners already have a duty of care under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is increasingly important to be able to have a method of tracing a pet dog to its owner. Without this it can be very difficult to ensure that duty is being met. Microchipping formalises the relationship between an owner and pet by promoting the owner’s level of accountability for their animals’ welfare needs.
Microchipping a dog also has a number of other welfare benefits:
- it allows a rapid return to their owner - local authorities will be able to emphasise to the dog owners concerned that straying is not acceptable. Education will lessen the likelihood of a dog straying again and reinforce the responsibilities of owners under the Animal Welfare Act 2006;
- it should be easier to identify owners who may be culpable of animal cruelty;
- enables veterinary surgeons to contact dog owners for emergency procedures;
- it will allow the identification of dogs in properties in emergency situations so that dogs and owners can be moved and reunited more quickly;
- it is a deterrent to dog theft; and
- all puppies are traceable to their breeder which may help to reduce the incidence of infectious disease and inherited defects.
Since last year, officials have been involved in extensive discussions with the industry in conjunction with the UK Government. Proposals originating from those discussions will take some time to implement and will be the subject of separate consultation and amending legislation. The intention is to ensure that there will be fewer cross border issues between England and Wales. Any proposed changes will not affect the fact that owners need to microchip their animals. Consequently I have taken the view that it is more important to ensure that the link between dog and dog owner is made compulsory as soon as is practicably possible and in line with the Welsh Government’s policy intent
I would therefore urge all dog owners who have not had their dog microchipped to have their animal microchipped by the 1 March 2015, when it will become compulsory.
If you are uncertain about how to take this forward please contact your local veterinary surgeon or contact the Dogs Trust which has kindly offered to help dog owners microchip their animals. Access to those arrangements can already be made by dog owners directing their enquiries to the Dogs Trust at www.dogstrust.org.uk