New figures from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home reveal that less than one in three stray dogs found are microchipped.
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, compared to 31% in 2017.
Despite microchipping being a legal requirement ever since it was introduced on 6 April 2016, 35% of stray dogs don’t have any microchip.
Battersea Chief Executive, Claire Horton, said: “It’s 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 u homeless every year.”
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 to promote he importance of keeping details up-to-date.
Claire Horton continues: “Batterea 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.
A new issue that has emerged from the report is the number of stray dogs that have foreign microchips, which is a concern for Battersea.
“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,” adds Claire.
“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.”