All dogs in Scotland will need a microchip, under planned changes to the law announced by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.
Compulsory microchipping will help reunite lost or stolen dogs with their owners and allow authorities to directly identify dog owners and hold them accountable for their dogs’ behaviour or where there are concerns about animal welfare.
The move – which received overwhelming support in a public consultation last year – is due to come into effect in Scotland in April 2016, the same time as in England and Wales.
Commenting on the new regulations, Mr Lochhead, said: “Scotland is a nation of animal lovers, and so we must do all we can to safeguard dog welfare and promote responsible ownership.
“The owners of out of control dogs can be required to microchip their dogs under existing legislation, and I understand that around two thirds of the dogs in Scotland have already been microchipped on a voluntary basis.
“I would encourage all dog owners to ensure that their dogs are microchipped and that their details are up to date.”
People should definitely consider microchipping cats as well as they roam about a bit more and can get lost.Sheena Buchan of Buchan Veterinary Cinic
Sheena Buchan, of Buchan Veterinary Clinic in Peterhead, says she supports the new law.
“I think it’s a great idea for microchipping to be mandatory.
“It’s very sensible as after we implant a ID chip to the animal we are able to return them safely to their owners with very little hassle or distress to the animal.
“It only takes one phone call and the dogs back home safely.”
Sheena added that in her personal experience she had seen microchipping successfully reunite pets and owners several times.
“We see a lot of animals being reunited, not only dogs but cats as well.
“People should definitely consider microchipping cats as well as they roam about a bit more and can get lost.
“Quite often we return animals to its owners simply by someone coming in with what they think is a lost animal.
We would then scan it and if it has a chip we would check the database and then reunite it with its owner.”