Follow Westminster’s lead with dog microchipping, says Milne

A North-east Conservative MSP has called on the Scottish Government to follow Westminster’s example by introducing compulsory microchipping for dogs.

Commenting ahead of the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary on puppy farms, Nanette Milne, has called on SNP Scottish Government to support the introduction of microchipping for dogs.

The call follows the decision by the UK Government to change the law to introduce compulsory microchipping of dogs in England and Wales.

The Animal Welfare Act will be amended to reflect the change to compulsory microchipping by April 2016.

It is hoped that the microchipping scheme which has been announced by the British Government will prove successful in reuniting owners with lost or stolen pets as well as relieving the pressure on animal charities, rehoming centres and local authorities, and protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible dog ownership.

The MSP has expressed concern that if the Scottish Government does not adopt similar legislation in Scotland we could see the problem dramatically increase - with this country becoming an easy route for the illegal import of puppies into the UK.

Ms Milne said: “There is clearly a growing problem with thousands of puppies being imported illegally into Britain every year from Eastern Europe as well as a significant increase in puppies being bred and abandoned once they reach adolescence.

DUMPED

“Every year more than 100,000 dogs are dumped across the UK at a cost of £57m to the taxpayer and animal welfare charities.

“The action which the UK Conservative Government is taking to introduction for the microchipping for dogs will it is hoped help address the problem of thousands of puppies being imported illegally into Britain. However, I am concerned that if we do not have similar legislation in place in Scotland, we could see the problem dramatically increase with Scotland becoming an easy route for the illegal import of puppies into the UK.

“There have been specific issues relating to puppy farms and the cross-border movement of dogs. I am concerned that this may become a greater problem if Scotland is left as the only part of the United Kingdom which does not require the compulsory microchipping.

“I hope that the SNP Scottish Government will look to follow the positive progressed made by the UK Government and introduce a similar change in the law in Scotland as soon as possible and prior to the change in England taking effect in 2016.

“I will be seeking urgent discussions with SNP Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead MSP and, if Ministers will not act, I will consider bringing forward a Private Members Bill to the Scottish Parliament to seek cross-party support for the introduction of compulsory micro-chipping of dogs in Scotland.”