Scotland to introduce compulsory microchipping for dogs.
All dogs in Scotland will need a microchip, under planned changes to the law announced today (Wednesday March 4, 2015) by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.
Compulsory microchipping will help reunite lost or stolen dogs with their owners and allow authorities to directly identify dog owners and hold them accountable for their dogs’ behaviour or where there are concerns about animal welfare.
The move – which received overwhelming support in a public consultation last year – is due to come into effect in Scotland in April 2016, the same time as in England and Wales.
Ahead of the new rules coming into force, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is offering free microchipping to all unchipped dogs in Scotland at mobile drop-in events and at its two rehoming centres.
Mr Lochhead – the Minister with lead responsibility for animal welfare – said:
“Scotland is a nation of animal lovers, and so we must do all we can to safeguard dog welfare and promote responsible ownership.
“The owners of out of control dogs can be required to microchip their dogs under existing legislation, and I understand that around two thirds of the dogs in Scotland have already been microchipped on a voluntary basis.
“In 2014, over 10,000 dogs across these islands were reunited with their owners as a result of a microchip. This is an impressive figure, but it could be improved on dramatically by ensuring that all dogs are microchipped, and, equally important, that their details are kept up to date.
“I can now confirm that compulsory microchipping will be introduced in Scotland next year, after it was overwhelmingly backed in our public consultation. This will be a huge help in reducing the number of lost and abandoned dogs in Scotland.
“I very much welcome generous free microchipping offer made by Dogs Trust ahead of the new legislation coming into effect. I would encourage all dog owners to ensure that their dogs are microchipped and that their details are up to date.”
Elvira Meucci, Campaigns Director at Dogs Trust, said:
“Dogs Trust greatly welcomes the introduction of compulsory microchipping for all dogs in Scotland from April 2016. We have long been a leading voice in the campaign for compulsory microchipping and are delighted to see the Scottish Government legislate for this important component of dog welfare and responsible ownership.
“As the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, reducing the nation’s stray dog population is at the very heart of Dogs Trust’s ethos, which is why we have committed to ensuring no dog owners will lack the financial ability to microchip their dog.
“Dog owners can get their dog chipped for free by appointment at our two Scottish rehoming centres in Glasgow and West Calder, or at one of our many drop-in events across the country which will run until the legislation comes into force. Of course, we also always stress at these events that a microchip on its own is not enough, and owners must ensure that they keep their details up to date.”
Photos and video are available on request from the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Government consultation on ‘Promoting responsible dog ownership in Scotland: microchipping and other measures’ ran from December 2013 to March 2014 and received a huge total of 2,378 responses.
The results of the analysis of those responses was published in October 2015. More than 83 per cent of people who responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on responsible dog ownership strongly supported compulsory microchipping: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/10/4357
The Scottish Government has already ruled out compulsory muzzling of all dogs in public places: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Decision-on-dog-consultation-11cf.aspx. Other measures are still under consideration.
Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (which applies to England, Scotland and Wales) it is already a legal requirement in the UK for dogs defined as dangerous dogs to be microchipped. The Scottish Government have also ensured that that the owners of other dangerous or out of control dogs can be required to microchip their dogs by the issue of a Dog Control Notice under the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010.
The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 gave powers to local authorities to issue dog control notices on owners who allow their dogs to be out of control. This is a preventative regime to allow local authorities to reinforce the need for owners to be responsible for their dogs before attacks happen. A dog control notice requires a dog to be microchipped and can contain other conditions such as the need to muzzle a dog in public.
The Scottish Government has long recommended in the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs that microchipping is an effective method of identifying animals that can help re-unite dogs with owners where the dogs have been lost or stolen.
Northern Ireland made microchipping of dogs compulsory from the April 1, 2012; Wales and England intend to introduce it in April 2016, which is also the timetable that the Scottish Government will be working towards.
The Scottish Regulation on the mandatory microchipping of dogs will take into account the legislation being developed elsewhere in GB, and where possible and beneficial, will seek to adopt a common approach.
Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and each year cares for approximately 17,000 dogs through its nationwide network of twenty rehoming centres, including two in Scotland (Glasgow and West Calder).
Dogs Trust invests substantial resources in information services and education on responsible dog ownership. Dogs Trust runs an education programme which aims to teach the dog owners of the future about responsible dog ownership through free school workshops and the provision of fun games and teaching resources.
Dogs Trust has long campaigned for the introduction of compulsory microchipping across the UK. Reducing the nation’s stray dog population is at the very heart of Dogs Trust’s ethos, which is why the charity has committed a considerable amount of money, for a limited time period, to ensure no dog owners will lack the financial ability to microchip their dog. Dogs Trust has established roving chipping teams who are travelling across Scotland organising chipping events which owners can attend, without appointment, to get their dog chipped for free. Dogs Trust also offers free chipping by appointment at our two Scottish rehoming centres in Glasgow and West Calder.
Dogs Trust has chipped over 10,000 dogs in Scotland through these free events since its roving teams began their work in September 2013. For more information, members of the public can visit www.chipmydog.org.uk, Dogs Trust’s unique ‘one-stop-shop’ for all microchipping queries.
Currently, there are an estimated 700,000 dogs in Scotland, of which approximately two thirds (460,000) are already microchipped (Source: Pet Food Manufacturing Association).