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Should Dog Microchipping be Compulsory?

Should Dog Microchipping be Compulsory?

Northern Ireland is to become the second place outside Australia to require owners to microchip their dogs.

Five Australian states require that all dogs be microchipped. Malta also requires the procedure.

The procedure is argued as the best way to ensure that lost dogs are returned to their rightful owners and as a way of encouraging responsible pet ownership. The Dogs Trust, which is campaigning for it to be made a requirement throughout the UK, says that it is a welfare issue. They say:

In 2010 local authorities took in over 121,000 stray dogs, of those dogs taken in by authorities last year, 6,404 were put to sleep. Dealing with these dogs cost a combined estimate of £25.9 million worth of taxpayers and charities’ money. If more dogs were microchipped, more could be returned to their owners and the cost to authorities would be vastly reduced, as well as ease the stress and worry to dogs and their owners.

The technology has been around since the 1980s and is similar to that used to identify supermarket goods. Insertion is without anesthetic and causes no more discomfort than a standard vaccination. The chip is surrounded by the same material as human pacemakers, so the body doesn’t reject it. Chipped dogs’ information is entered into databases, so if lost the dog can be identified and its owner contacted.

Nevertheless, there are opponents who cite health concerns, privacy concerns regarding recording owners’ information and that collars and tags should be enough to identify dogs. The Dogs Trust say that up to a third of dogs in the UK are not tagged. Opponents have also said that compulsory microchipping of dogs could lead to the practice in humans.

In the United States, bills requiring owners to microchip their dogs over six months of age have been put forward in Riverside County, CA, Indianapolis and New York state. In California it has been proposed for dogs adopted at an animal shelter.

Related stories:

California Microchip Bill Will Save Thousands Of Shelter Pets

Rescue Pet of the Day: Reba

Freezing and Homeless New York City Dog Wakes to Heaven on Earth

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175 comments

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4:43AM PDT on Aug 27, 2014

No, absolutely not! Not only that, pet micro-chipping should be completely illegal.
These chips cause cancer in pets which can be deadly.
Thank you for reading and considering this comment, everyone!
May God bless all of you people!
Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior!

2:20PM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

all animals should be micro-chirped

3:10PM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

But it´s not only to microchip, it´s also necessary to register.

3:05PM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

As far as I know, Austria is also a country to require dogs microchiped. Heard nothing bad about. Austria is one of the European countries, that import homeless animals to find them homes. Seems it works.

2:42PM PDT on Apr 23, 2013

Definitely not, This is so bad. In theory, it should work. I live in Riverside county, I have seen people with chipped dog's get their dogs stolen or lost never to find them again. Most shelters don't have chip readers. They do this to control the population, but the people with tons of dogs aren't the ones who get their dogs chipped. The ones that are irresponsible with their pet's are the ones who do not get their dog's chipped. It's so bizarre, it's a backwards system. I understand that it may look like a good idea. But it doesn't work.

2:54AM PST on Jan 19, 2013

I suppose it's a must for the sake of our furry friends from being lost

9:25AM PST on Dec 24, 2012

It should be compulsory for all pet animals and birds to be micro-chipped.
Not only would it be of use in returning lost and stray pets to their owners, but if every veterinarian was also compelled to check for a microchip when an animal is taken to them for treatment, it would probably help to reunite many stolen animals with their legal owners.

9:36PM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Karen H, I'm sorry my comment got cut off. I wasn't directing the 'pick up the phone" comment to you personally - only generally. We get angry calls periodically about why didn't we call. We try to explain that the first thing we do is try to call but as mentioned before, chip info isn't current if they're in the pet at all. A woman a couple weeks ago got her cat returned after 1 year because when a lady feeding a stray brought the cat to her vet, the vet found the chip and contacted the shelter. Same story last summer, except the cat wasn't chipped. After about 3 months at the shelter, it was adopted out. The original owner was too late; she never thought about contacting the shelter, though she called everywhere else. Since the cat had no chip, she had no recourse to the cat.

9:26PM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Karen H, I don't know what type of animal shelter you have in your area, but I do feel for you. It is truly in the best interest of not only the lost animal to be scanned, but also easier on the budget of the shelters and ACO. The first thing our shelter does upon a new animal arriving is to scan it for a microchip. We even have 2 different style scanners due to the different types of chips available. We also scan the entire body of the animal since chips can migrate through the body; we've found chips that migrated to hind quarters!

Most shelters are non-profit and depend on adoption fees and fundraisers to stay open. Keeping stray animals strains budgets, but killing animals is even more expensive. Rather than just blaming shelters with a wide paintbrush, why not be pro-active and get change? Our local shelter used to be the city pound where animals were regularly killed. Citizens demanded change, we got new ACOs and created a no-kill shelter staffed by volunteers. Because ACO maintains their office in the same facility, the city pays the building expenses.

The point is, microchipping is a great tool for getting your pet back. Pet care vigilance should also factor in. Rather than depending on over-burdened, under-staffed, overworked volunteers doing their best to find homes for homeless animals, if you lose your pet PICK UP THE PHONE and do a little work. It's easier for you to locate your animal than expect a shelter with limited resources to contact everybody. Come

7:01PM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Part 3:

I forgot to mention all the pets who got lost end died on the streets or due to other incidents.

It should be obligatory to scan every pet which is found dead for a micro chip.
It could be a pet who is listed as missing.
Even if the owners would get bad news, they know what happened to their pet.

Nothing is worse for owners than not knowing what happened to their lost pet - and many of them are lost for ever.

Simply because the system with the micro chips does not work because rescuers, animal control, pet rescuers and any other organization and authorities dealing with "stray" pets and dead pets are failing to check for a micro chip.

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