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Dogs need to be microchipped


Mike King

Dogs need to be microchipped

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SUCCESSIVE?GOVERNMENTS have dragged their feet on the burning?issue of drafting legislation for dogs to be fully licensed with microchip implanting.
That’s the view of veterinarian Dr Gus Reader, chief officer in the Animal Control Centre, Curtis Thompson, and chief inspector of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Wayne Norville, who were all unwavering in their call for dogs to have microchip implanting, a common practice in some international countries.
The trio made that call at an Animal Control Unit panel discussion at the Black Rock Cultural Centre, Wednesday night that dealt with developing a breeders’ registry.
Reader was in no doubt about what has become a vexing issue for animal lovers generally and dog lovers in particular.
“The hold-up is political. Government needs to pass the legislation requiring the microchips to be implanted in the dogs. Thompson can’t implant a microchip, which is Government property, without some legal framework for him to do so.
“I don’t think Government has the political will, because it is going to involve increasing licence fees and that might be politically unpopular,” he said.
Noting that 10 000 microchips were available in the country, Thompson said that animal welfare issues and animal concerns are just an afterthought in this country.
The outspoken Norville said he was disappointed that the situation had remained in limbo for so long, and lambasted the political directorate, saying that the majority of them were not animal lovers and “did not give two hoots about the industry”.
Reader said that regulations were prepared seven years ago requiring that all dogs carry a microchip and stipulating who was licensed under the provisions to implant a microchip.
“Those persons licensed would have to keep a record of all dogs microchipped and those records would find their final resting place at the Animal Control Centre.
“Those regulations were prepared in April 2006 and successive Governments have taken no action.
The equipment is present and accounted for, and until it is made law, the microchips will remain at the Animal Control Centre,” he said.
Currently dogs are licensed by way of tags with the number of licensed dogs now at 30 000, a far improvement from the 10 000, ten years ago. Reader said that with over 200 000 dogs in the country, licensing still has a long way to go.
“Some inroads have been made by the Animal Control Centre, but much more still has to be done. Microchipping is a permanent identification, so a dog that has strayed can be identified, a dog that has been abandoned can be identified, a dog that has attacked someone or their livestock can be identified and linked to an owner,” he said.
Thompson said the time has had come for the Animal Control Centre to hold forums throughout the length and breadth of the country dealing with animal welfare issues.
“We have enough knowledge in the industry that we can form a coalition, not to pull down but to advance the causes of animals. We all are stakeholders, whether we are in training, whether we are in grooming, breeding or whatever. We need to get together and highlight the welfare of animals in this country,” he said.

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