Plans for microchipping dogs outlined - Veterinary Practice
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Plans for microchipping dogs outlined

SMALL animal practitioners will
not have responsibility for policing
the compulsory microchipping of
dogs but their efforts in explaining
the system to clients will be vital to
ensure its success.

Andy Patnelli, head of the DEFRA
companion animal welfare team,
outlined the government’s plans for
implementing the decision in February
to introduce compulsory microchip
identification for dogs in England
from April 2016.

The Welsh Assembly is proposing
to introduce its own regulations a year
earlier while similar rules have been in
force in Northern Ireland since April

The veterinary profession will be
asked to help reach the owners of
around 2.5 million dogs, about a third
of the total population that haven’t
already been chipped. Mr Patnelli
estimated that the scheme could save
local authorities around £30 million a
year in kennelling costs by allowing
much faster and effective attempts to
reunite dogs with their owners.

“That is money that could be
better used for educating owners and
in supporting those people who have difficulties in looking after their dogs,”
he said.

Mr Patnelli said the government
proposals to make it easier to identify
a dog’s owners and to make them
responsible for its care have
considerable public support. The
second of two public consultations in
2012 showed that 96% of respondents
backed the concept of compulsory

Having examined a range of
options the government is proposing
that all dogs over eight weeks old
should be chipped and their details
registered on a database. It has rejected
the suggestion of setting up a single
national database as too costly.

Instead, the animal’s details will be
registered on one or other of the
existing systems and DEFRA will
ensure that there is communication
between the different systems and that
each dog’s details can be located
through the unique code number for
each chip.

A puppy’s breeder will be
responsible for initial registration and
giving details of that registration to the
new owners. Thereafter, it is the duty
of the dog’s owner to ensure that the contact details for that animal are kept
up to date.

Mr Patnelli said failure to comply
with the requirements of the
regulations could be punishable by a
fine and possible confiscation of the
animal. There were no plans to extend
the rules to cover the identification of
cats, he added.

Regulations to implement the new
rules would be laid before Parliament
in June. DEFRA would also be
announcing details of the
arrangements for training veterinary
nurses and others who will be
entrusted with the job of implanting
the chips.

Responsibility for monitoring

DEFRA has given the Veterinary
Medicines Directorate responsibility
for monitoring any possible adverse
reactions, either as a direct result of
the implanting procedure or through
the migration or failure of the

Earlier, the VMD’s
communications manager, Matthew
Isted, said the reporting scheme would
be an extension of the voluntary
system for reporting adverse reactions

for veterinary medicines, which is fully
supported by the UK veterinary
profession with the result that Britain
has the highest reporting rates in

“We will not be regulating the
market, unlike medicines where we are
the ones who take a decision to
remove a product from the market,”
he said.

“We will contact individual
companies or the Microchip Trade
Association to see if there is a
problem or if it can be taken further.
It seems only right that there is a
satisfactory way to keep an eye on chip
quality and the way they are being

The MTA chairman, former
BSAVA president Fred Nind, believed
that the proposed system would be an
effective way of identifying any
technical problems with the chip

If consistent problems linked to
implantation are found then the
individuals concerned will be
contacted directly and instructed either
to undergo more training in implanting
the chips or to stop doing the
procedure altogether.

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