The British government has just announced that all dogs in England must be fitted with microchips by 2016for their own safety and to insure that all who might become lost or stolen have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.
According to Dog Trust, a local animal rights group, shelters in England took in 119,000 stray dogs between April 2011-March 2012 alone. Of these, 55,898 were reportedly returned to their owners, while 6,900 had to be euthanized.
“It’s a shame that in a nation of dog lovers, thousands of dogs are roaming the streets or are stuck in kennels because the owner cannot be tracked down,” stated Environment Secretary Owen Paterson. “Microchipping is a simple solution that gives peace of mind to owners.”
He also noted that anyone who does not comply with the new law could face fines up to $800.
In the meantime, the Environmental Office stated that 60% of Britain’s 8 million pet dogs already have implanted chips. While the chips will remain optional for cats, horse owners have had to chip their animals since 2009.
The chips are already compulsory in Northern Ireland, although not in Scotland, and Wales is still in the process of deciding whether or not to mandate them.
Although microchipping is not required in the US, the practice is becoming more widespread. Costs generally run between $25-$50 and can be done by your vet. Shelters will also insert them for nominal service fees as well.