The Minister has launched a consultation that considers whether all dogs in Wales should be microchipped. Under the plans information included in the microchip, including details of the pet’s owner, would be recorded on an approved database.
The Welsh Government estimates that there are currently just short of half a million dogs in Wales and that 30% of households in Wales own at least one dog.
The plans are aimed at encouraging all dog owners in Wales to take responsibility for their animals in line with the aims of the Animal Health & Welfare Strategy.
The Environment Minister said:
“There’s no doubt that Wales is a nation of dog lovers, with around three out ten households in Wales owning at least one dog.
“We believe that the majority of dog owners in Wales are responsible and take good care of their animals. As a Government we are committed to building on this to ensure high welfare standards for all dogs.
“Microchipping ensures a permanent identification for animals and only needs to be done once in a dog’s life. It makes it easier to reunite lost dogs with their owners, acts as a deterrent against dog theft, and helps to prove dog ownership if there are ever any problems with the animal.
“The consultation sets out five options for how we might drive up levels of microchipping and I welcome the views of all interested parties.”
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
Microchipping of dogs is widely available across Wales. The Dogs Trust is currently offering microchipping at £10 per dog.
The plans to introduce compulsory microchipping are just one aspect of the work to increase dog welfare. The Welsh Government is currently consulting on regulations to control dog breeding and help improve standards of living for dogs. It is also considering bringing forward primary legislation that would help to manage uncontrolled and potentially dangerous dogs.
The consultation on microchipping will run from 16th May 2012 until 8 August 2012.