The other week in Parliament I held a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the issue of compulsory microchipping for dogs after a recent poll from YouGov and Dogs trust found that 82% of Scottish adults agree with it’s introduction.
Whilst the vast majority of dog owners are responsible in their duties, we all see the effects of irresponsible dog ownership within our community, from dog fouling, strays or noise pollution. It is important that we instill a responsible approach to ownership to help address these issues.
The reported benefits of micochipping includes reuniting a lost or stray dog with a chip to its registered owner. It has also been promoted as a deterrent to dog theft, which increased by 17% in the past year, and as a way to identify owners who are culpable of animal cruelty.
Currently in Scotland, dogs identified as dangerous are required to be micochipped if served a notice under the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010, yet compulsory microchipping could lead to quicker identification of dangerous dogs.
Also, with close to 3,000 stray dogs in Scotland each year we see a significant burden being placed on Local Authorities’ budget through kennelling costs, yet microchipping can help reduce that.
Compulsory dog chipping is already in place in Northern Ireland, with England and Wales planning to introduce it in the near future. Currently the Scottish Government has no plans to introduce compulsory microchipping but will be bringing forward a consultation later in the year.
With plans to introduce microchipping across Britain, the Scottish Government must ensure Scotland is not left behind and I hope the consultation will have a positive outcome.