National Dog Warden Association (NDWA)
1984 - 2019

Dog Wardens Ask Who Will Enforce Mandatory Microchipping

Wed, 06 Feb 2013

The National Dog Warden Association has campaigned as part of the Microchipping Alliance to make permanent identification compulsory for all dogs since 2009. The Microchipping Alliance comprises a number of animal welfare charities, assistance dog charities, veterinary organisations, dog membership organisations, and other organisations affected by dog issues, and today welcomed the Government's long-awaited announcement but with a number of concerns.

Whilst welcoming mandatory microchipping as a method of contributing to reducing the num ber of stray dogs in England, the National Dog Warden Association would like to ask the Coalition Government two questions:

Question One.
Who is going to enforce non compliance, it appears that the Police will be the prosecuting authority. Will all Police Officers carry a microchip scanner to 'stop and scan' all dogs in the street? The Police campaigned for many years to have no involvement with stray dogs and various legislation was amended accordingly to remove any police requirement to deal with stray dogs.

Question Two.
Where is any funding coming from to enable Local Authorities to deal with an increased work load once the Police are removed from the picture in regard to enforcing the legislation? There is already a plethora of dog and animal related legislation that has various penalties for non compliance but nobody, Police or Local Authority currently enforce this legislation.

Without a joined up approach to mandatory microchipping from whoever will be responsible for enforcement, yet another well meaning initiative that is intended to help dogs and promote animal welfare will become literally yet another post code lottery.

Examples being the Animal Welfare Act 2006, an excellent piece of legislation but ignored by the majority of Local Authorities because there was no funding or requirement to adopt the act. A small number of Local Authorities actively enforce the Animal Welfare Act 2006 but the majority do nothing.

To ensure mandatory microchipping works, DEFRA needs to ensure that mandatory means statutory otherwise we will have a situation where parts of the country will enforce and parts will not.

Far from wanting to be a harbinger of doom regarding the risk to the concept of mandatory microchipping, NDWA fears that there will be a lack of will, conviction and resources to ensure that the scheme will achieve a reduction in stray dogs or a noticeable improvement in animal welfare.


Sue Bell and Neil Burton

On behalf of the NDWA

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