Today I visited Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre in West Calder to announce that Scottish Labour is supporting compulsory microchipping of dogs.
Microchipping has a number of advantages, it helps return stray dogs, allows easy identification of those undertaking animal cruelty on their dogs, ensures owners of dangerous dogs are held to account and is a deterrent to dog theft.
With their being close to 3,000 stray dogs a year in Scotland, microchipping is a great help is reuniting worried owners. At the same time by quickly reuniting owners there is a saving made on the public purse through reduced kennelling costs.
Compulsory dog chipping is currently in place in Northern Ireland, England is planning on introducing it south of the border by 2016, a consultation on the issue has just concluded in Wales, the results of which are due soon. Currently the Scottish Government has no plans to introduce compulsory microchipping in Scotland.
With plans across the rest of Britain, Scotland face being left behind on the issue of microchipping. It is important that the Scottish Government takes action to ensure Scotland comes into line with the rest of the UK.
Dog owners already have to ensure their dog is wearing a collar and tag but microchipping can hold much more information whilst it cannot be removed.
Dogs Trust, who do invaluable work in rehoming lost and abandoned dogs, microchip dogs for free, helping reduce the costs for the owner. It was great to meet with the staff in West Calder and see first-hand the work they do in chipping, scanning and taking care of their dogs.