Dog microchip

Reforms planned for pet microchip rules

The rules around pet microchipping in England are set to be changed to help make it easier to reunite lost or stolen cats and dogs with their owners.

A consultation launched by the UK government seek views on improvements to the pet microchipping database system, including faster access for approved users and regular reminders on keeping records updated.

The recommendations follow last year’s Pet Theft Taskforce report, which highlighted the need to improve navigation of the database system and the transfer of owner records.

Scanning Microchip

Comments are being sought on proposed new requirements for registering additional details and a single point of access, so microchip records can quickly be accessed by approved users to help identify the owners and keepers of pets.

There are also plans to strengthen the transferring of records to prevent lost or stolen animals being re-registered without the keeper being aware, and to stop the creation of duplicate records.

“We strongly recommend microchipping as a safe, effective and permanent way to identify individual animals, but the sheer number of databases and the fact that they don’t routinely communicate with each other currently present significant barriers to successful reunification of lost pets and owners,” said Justine Shotton, president of the British Veterinary Association.

“Streamlining the system into a single point of entry and driving up standards across all databases would help to spare heartache for many pet owners and start things on a positive footing when compulsory cat microchipping is rolled out next year.”

David Bowles, head of public affairs at the RSPCA, added: “We’d support the introduction of a single, centralised database of microchipped cats and dogs or would love to see better collaboration and communication between the current 16 separate databases.

“This would make it much easier to quickly reunite stray, missing and stolen pets with their owners and would also save a lot of time for charities, such as the RSPCA, local authorities and vets when they’re trying to trace an owner.”

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