A KENNEL manager who takes in stray dogs across South Tyneside has welcomed plans to make microchipping compulsory.
From April 2016, every dog owner in England will have to fit their dog with a microchip or face prosecution.
It’s hoped the plan will cut down on the number of strays, help reunite stolen pets with owners and also trace owners of dangerous dogs which have been responsible for attacks.
The microchips will contain details of owners, and those who don’t have their pets fitted with one could face fines of up to £500.
The move, announced by the Government yesterday, has been welcomed by Sarah Wilkinson, who looks after West Hall Kennels in Cleadon, where 130 stray dogs have already been taken in this year.
But while Ms Wilkinson hailed the move as heading “in the right direction”, she believes the scheme could hit problems.
She said: “This is definitely a step in the right direction, and it is something I do welcome.
“But there are still issues that need to be sorted, if it is to work –this includes how it is going to be policed. I’m not sure how they are going to force people to have their dogs microchipped, when I can’t even get people to pick up their dogs who have been found and brought to us.
“I can see the positives in this, although it is still such a long way off.”
About 110,000 stray dogs are picked up by police, local authorities and animal welfare charities nationally each year, with half unable to be reunited with their owner because they cannot be identified. The microchip is the size of a grain of rice, and is inserted into the dog’s body. By using a scanner, it can reveal information on who the animal belongs to.
Government ministers also plan to extend legal protection over dog attacks to cover incidents on private property, supporting postmen and women, health visitors and others who call at private addresses but have not been covered by the law if they are bitten by a dog.