Last month the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney announced that new regulations are to be introduced requiring all dogs to be microchipped. He believes that this plan will help protect the welfare of dogs and indicated a possible introduction date of 2016.
This would mean that if there were any stray, abandoned or abused dogs that the owner could be traced and appropriate action could be taken.
The announcement has been welcomed by the ISPCA and Dogs Trust as they have long campaigned for microchipping to be compulsory. The Minister said his officials are to hold discussions to ensure that the methods will be carried out correctly and will be cost effective throughout veterinary practices across the country.
Microchipping is already compulsory in dog breeding establishments and in the greyhound industry and MrCoveney believes that there should not be different standards depending on where a puppy comes from. He also wants a central database to know how many dogs there are in the country and with this it is hoped that if a dogs dies or changes ownership this will be reflected in the database.
At present dog owners are legally obliged to provide a collar and ID tag for their pets but this new legislation ensures a permanent means of identification if the tag or collar falls off. In case you are unsure of what microchipping is and how it works here is a brief description.
A microchip is a small electronic device that is the size of a grain of rice. This chip is coded with a unique ID number for your dog. Microchips work when a scanner is passed over them. The scanner produces low frequency radio waves that activate the chip allowing the number to be read. This in turn traces back to a database where the owner’s information and contact numbers are stored. The microchip is injected under the loose skin behind a dog’s neck. No anaesthetic is needed and it doesn’t hurt any more than getting a standard vaccination. The body does not reject the chip because it is encased in a bio compatible glass and all the equipment is sterilised beforehand.
The chip can be scanned at most veterinary practices, Local Authorities or animal welfare groups. The person scanning the chip then contacts a national database to find the owner’s details. When you get your pet chipped you receive a registration document that tells you which database has you and your dog’s details. You can then contact that specific database operator if you need to change any details.
Most veterinary practices and a number of local authorities and animal welfare groups can microchip your dog with the price varying from €20 – €50. However some organisations offer reduced pricing or schemes.
Check out local vets and rescue centres to see if there are any offers in your local area.