Thousands of pet owners risk losing their much-loved pets by not updating their dog’s microchip details. New research released today by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home reveal that less than one in three stray dogs found by or taken to Local Authorities are microchipped with accurate contact details for their owner. Even more worrying is the fact that 35% of stray dogs don’t have any microchip, despite the law requiring owners to microchip their dog being introduced over two years ago.
Now the leading animal welfare charity is calling on pet owners, vets and microchip providers to do more to help ensure lost dogs can be reunited with their owners.
According to its latest research, Battersea found that just 29% of stray dogs collected from our streets by Local Authority dog wardens are microchipped with up to date details, a decline from 31% last year.
Battersea Chief Executive, Claire Horton, said: “It’s very worrying that two years after compulsory dog microchipping was introduced by the Government, many stray dogs are still found without a microchip. Microchipping is such a simple, painless procedure for dogs, and many rescue centres, including Battersea, provide this service free of charge. It can save an awful lot of heartache for any pet owners whose dog does run off and will prevent thousands of dogs ending up homeless every year.”
Two-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Foxy, was brought into Battersea after a concerned member of the public found her in South London. Every animal that comes into Battersea is scanned for a microchip, and fortunately for confused Roxy, staff found an up to date microchip. They were then able to make that all-important phone call to Roxy’s owner with the good news that their dog had been found and was safe at the animal rescue centre.
Every year, Battersea’s Lost Dogs & Cats Line, which is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, reunites over 1000 lost animals with their owners. However, this is made all the more difficult if a dog is not microchipped, or the details are incorrect.
As well as encouraging pet owners to get their dogs microchipped, Battersea also wants to see microchip providers and vets do more to promote the importance of keeping details up to date.
Claire Horton continues: “Battersea believes more can be done to improve the current situation and ensure microchipping enables stray dogs to be returned home safely. All stakeholders can do their bit to improve the current situation - from database companies, to vets, to welfare organisations.
“We are also concerned by a new issue that has emerged in this report, which is the number of stray dogs that have foreign microchips. This should be further investigated to determine if this is a problem caused by the international puppy trade or if breeders are purchasing microchips from overseas to cut costs.
“If it is assumed that there is a link between the provenance of the chip and the country from which the dog has originated, then a protocol may be required for handling and rehoming dogs with foreign chips from countries where rabies is endemic. Ideally, the establishment of a database to register dogs imported into the UK would help to confirm that these dogs have entered the UK legally and have had the correct vaccinations.”
To read Battersea’s full report, Microchipping Two Years On – 2018: Where It Matters Most, please click here.