A ROCESTER vetinerary practice is helping dog owners comply with a new law forcing them to microchip their animals.
From April 2016, it will be mandatory to insert identification chips into dogs in the UK.
And Abbeyfields Vets has teamed up with the Dogs Trust to offer to apply the chips free of charge.
It is part of a UK-wide campaign through which the charity, which is paying for the chips, hopes three quarters of vets will offer the service.
Julie Gray, practice manager at Abbeyfields, said she was pleased the new legislation had been agreed.
She said: “When we get lost or abandoned dogs brought to us without chips, it can be really difficult when they aren’t chipped.
“Also included on the chips is a medical history so we know if the animal in question has any exisiting health problems, like whether or not they fit, we need to be made aware of.
“In cases where dogs have been neglected or abused, chips can be vital in getting to the bottom of what happened as the owner can be located.
“And chips also make it much harder to get away with stealing a dog.
“So there are many reasons why it’s a great idea to fit your dog with a microchip.
“And we’re fully supporting the Dogs Trust campaign and their kind offer to pay for the chips.”
Elvira Meucci-Lyons, head of campaigns and community at Dogs Trust, said: “Last year, 111,986 stray and abandoned dogs were picked up by local authorities across the UK, with only 40 per cent reunited with their owners.
“We hope this initiative will help to reduce the number of dogs put to sleep in council pounds because their owners cannot be traced.
“We are therefore delighted that Abbeyfield Vets has joined the Microchipping Through Vets Campaign.”
“Microchipping will be compulsory for all dogs in England from April 2016 and Wales from April 2015 and Dogs Trust wants to ensure that all dog owners can have this simple procedure carried out for free.
“The vets of England and Wales are a vital part of this and we’d like to say a huge thank you to them for their support.”
The chips, which are 1cm long and the width of the lead in a pencil, are inserted beneath the skin on dogs’ necks.
Any dogs from six-to-eight weeks or older are eligible to be chipped.
More information about the campaign is available online at www.dogstrust.org.uk.
Anyone wanting to get their dog microchipped at Abbeyfields should call 01889 590449.