Millions of dog owners in Britain will have to pay for their pets to be fitted with a microchip, under plans set to be announced in the next few days. British Ministers are expected to introduce rules that require every newborn puppy to be fitted with a device giving details of who they belong to.
The information about the dogs will reportedly be kept on a central information database which can only be accessed by British police and the country’s RSPCA.
The government is looking to use the information to trace owners of violent dogs in case of attacks, cases of which have been rising recently.
Neil Parish who is an MP and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare, told the Daily Mail:
“If we’re not careful we’re going to make things more difficult for legitimate dog owners, and not solve the real problem of dangerous dogs. We have got to find the dogs who are being bred illegally by people who mix breeds to create potentially vicious dogs. It’s not so much the dogs that should be targeted, but the owners who train them to be vicious that must be targeted.”
Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths has revealed that he planned to introduce legislation requiring all dogs in Wales to be microchipped last December.
Mr Griffiths said:
“Licensed dog breeders in Wales are already required to microchip all animals on their premises prior to them being moved or sold on. However, we are now considering plans that would require all dogs in Wales to be microchipped. This would promote responsible pet ownership, ensure pet owner accountability and help to improve the welfare of dogs across Wales.”
According to BBC, the British Communication Workers Union (CWU) has added its voice to the debate supporting the move and saying that thousands had been injured while the government “dragged its feet”.
Billy Hayes, general secretary of the CWU, said:
“It’s about time the law bit back to protect innocent dog attack victims. Thousands of postal workers and telecom engineers – along with other workers who go on to private property, and parents of small children – will sigh in relief at this announcement.”
But The Freedom Association, a pressure group which campaigns for individual liberty, criticised the government’s plans for penalising law-abiding dog owners.
In a statement on its website, the group said:
“Each dog owner may have to shell out £35 for the microchip. Effectively, this would mean owners having to pay for the privilege of not being trusted.”