All dogs in the United Kingdom must be implanted with microchips within the next few years, authorities said this week, adding that pet owners who refuse to comply will be served up a heavy fine.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said that the microchips, which will have to be implanted in the dogs by April 2016, will allow the animals to be more easily traced back to their owners if they get lost, or could allow owners to be held accountable if the dog misbehaves. Paterson said that the chips would also take the pressure off animal shelters.
“It’s a shame that in a nation of dog lovers, thousands of dogs are roaming the streets or stuck in kennels because the owner cannot be tracked down. I am determined to put an end to this and ease the pressure on charities and councils to find new homes for these dogs,” Paterson said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Microchipping is a simple solution that gives peace of mind to owners. It makes it easier to get their pet back if it strays and easier to trace if it’s stolen. The generous support of Dogs Trust will mean that this valuable service can be offered for free to pet owners across the country,” Paterson continued.
There are some 8 million pet dogs in the U.K., with around 60 percent of them already implanted with microchips. The chips go underneath the skin between the shoulder blades.
By 2016, police will be granted the ability to check dogs to see if they have the chips. Owners who do not get their dogs chipped will be hit with fines for as much as $800.
Paterson said that more than 100,000 dogs are dumped or lost each year in the U.K., costing taxpayers some $89 million to deal with them. The chips will help these dogs be found and reunited with their owners more quickly, he stressed.
At the same time, police will be granted more power to deal with “dangerous dogs,” meaning that laws on dog attacks will now cover “private property, closing a loophole which has meant that dog owners whose animals have attacked people on private property are immune from prosecution,” according to the environment agency’s office.
Paterson cited the deaths of eight children and six adults due to dog attacks over the past eight years as a reason to beef up the laws.
“Most people take proper care of their dogs, but there are a small minority of people who behave irresponsibly, allowing their dogs to threaten and attack people,” Paterson added. “People like health and postal workers, who have to go on private property just to do their jobs, deserve protection under the law. By giving the police extra powers to clamp down on law-breakers, those responsible for the worst offenses will be held to account regardless of where the attack takes place.”
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 21 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.