A chip on his shoulder
Published on: 28 Aug 2013
New legislation has recently been announced that means all dogs must be microchipped to permanently identify them by April 2016. For those not familiar with the technology, a microchip is a small device the size and shape of a grain of rice that is implanted just under the skin between the shoulder blades and then read with a hand-held scanner. The microchip works like a barcode to give the animal a unique 15 digit number that is then registered on a national database with the keeper’s contact details. It is likely that a substantial fine will be introduced for non-compliance. It is already a legal requirement that all dogs wear a collar and a tag which states the keeper’s name and address, with a maximum fine of £5000. It is a good idea, though not compulsory, to have phone numbers for the keeper and the animal’s vet included.
Many pets are already microchipped as this is the best way to ensure that they are returned to you should they get lost. Vet surgeries, the RSPCA and other animal charities and the dog wardens will routinely scan stray pets to try to reunite them with their owners.
Normally this is a simple matter of contacting the database and then phoning the owner, but on some occasions more ingenuity and persistence is required. Recently a team of firemen who had been called to a grass fire on Rodway Common found a stray collie dog which they nicknamed Bray, and brought him to Avenue Veterinary Centre to be scanned. We were delighted to find Bray had a microchip, but the database said the chip had never been registered. We contacted the practice in Salisbury where the chip had been implanted, and they were able to search their computer system for the chip number and then contact their client. There was another twist in the tale because Bray had been rehomed to someone who lived in Bristol. The first owner used Facebook to message the new owner, who was away on his honeymoon – Bray had wandered off whilst in the care of his dogsitters. Once they were alerted he was quickly reunited with them. You can see his photo with his uniformed rescuers on the Avenue Veterinary Centre Facebook page.
It shows the importance of making sure the information held on the database is kept up to date.
We’ve had many ‘stray’ cats brought in who are scanned and turn out to have loving homes, usually only a few streets away. There are quite a few ‘six dinner Sid’s’ in Downend! If your cat won’t tolerate a collar and tally, even more reason to have a microchip implanted.
Avenue Veterinary Centre are pleased to offer a discount on microchipping to readers of Downend Voice during September. A chip will be implanted and registered for £10 (less than half the normal price) on production of this article.