Dog owners in Wales have been urged to microchip their dogs ahead of it becoming a legal requirement in 2015.
Speaking to the National Assembly, the Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies, confirmed that he would be bringing forward regulations that would require all dogs in Wales to be identified with a microchip by 1 March 2015. It becomes a legal requirement for dogs in England from 1st April 2016.
The change would mean that around 190,000 dogs in Wales would need to be microchipped over the next year, and that with effect from 1 March 2015, all puppies in Wales would need to be microchipped by the time they are 56 days old.
Alun Davies said: “I am committed to promoting responsible dog ownership in Wales. Whilst dog owners already have a duty of care under the Animal Welfare Act, it is increasingly important that we have a reliable way of tracing dogs back to their owners.
“Our decision to introduce compulsory microchipping will create a clear link between a dog and its owner and will increase the accountability of dog owners right across Wales.
“It will make it much easier for an owner to be identified if its dog has strayed or been injured, it will help us to deter dog theft, and the traceability back to breeders should also help us to reduce the incidence of infectious or inherited disease.
“Microchipping will become a legal requirement on 1 March next year so I would encourage all dog owners in Wales who have not yet had their dogs microchipped to do so before that date.”
The decision to introduce compulsory microchipping follows a public consultation by the Welsh Government in 2012. The overwhelming majority of respondents were in favour of the move.
Dog owners seeking advice on microchipping should contact their local veterinary surgeon or the Dogs Trust who have offered to assist with the cost.
The decision to introduce compulsory microchipping is just one aspect of the Welsh Government’s work to improve dog welfare. The Welsh Government has already legislated to ban electronic shock collars and is bringing forward Regulations setting new standards for licensed dog breeders.