Wales first for compulsory microchips for all dogs

Licensing changes for dog breeding in Wales could be the first step towards the introduction of compulsory microchips for all dogs.

Following the unveiling of new evidence of up to 249 unlicensed dog breeders in Wales, the Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones stated that a review of the dog breeding licensing in Wales is required.  Reportedly, the same review will also include a discussion on whether or not microchipping should be compulsory for all dogs.

Earlier this year, the Dogs Trust released figures showing how the number of stray dogs has increased and we discussed whether all dogs should be microchipped to reduce the heavy burden stray dogs has upon councils.

Ms Jones and the assembly government are said to be ‘very concerned’ at the suffering some dogs are enduring and the neglect that so-called puppy farms are imposing on dogs.  Although the unlicensed dog breeding premises identified in the report do not show any evidence of welfare issues within their premises, Ms Jones has said that such a high figure of up to 249 unlicensed dog breeders warrants further investigation of licensing needs.

She said: “While the breeding of dogs for sale is a legal and legitimate trade, the production of puppies on a commercial scale with little or no consideration of welfare issues, is unacceptable.  I will be establishing a task and finish group to review existing guidance on the licensing of dog breeding establishments, and look at whether existing legislation should be amended.”

“In order to improve traceability of dogs, I will be encouraging voluntary microchipping while we consider the need to make microchipping compulsory.”

Both the Dogs Trust Wales and the RSPCA have welcomed this news and Gethin Russell-Jones of the RSPCA Cymru said:

“It all looks good to us, and it’s going to improve animal welfare, so we’re delighted.  There’s a huge issue with puppy breeding or puppy farms in Wales, particularly in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.

“The environment in which these animals is kept is very often terrible and the suffering they endure is terrible.  Anything which insists local authorities get more involved and take action to prevent this suffering can only be for the good, so we’re happy about that.”

“Microchipping is a very simple cheap procedure which means an animal can be traced within minutes or hours. A lot of heartache is resolved.”

Sian Edwards of Dogs Trust Wales commented that dog breeders should have a license if they breed from five dogs or more but without microchipping it is impossible for council inspections to know whether they are seeing the same dogs at each visit.

Regarding microchipping, she added:

“Microchipping is the best protection for the dog and peace of mind for the owner.  This is a one-off fee to get the dog micro-chipped.  It’s also an issue of responsibility – if you get the dog chipped, you have a duty of care towards it.”

So what do you think, should it be compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped?