Hundreds of dog owners are taking advantage of free microchipping across Ireland this month.
Microchipping is now a legal requirement for puppies but by March next year all dogs will be required by law to have a microchip.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, announced €100,000 in funding to subsidise microchipping as part of the roll out of regulations.
The dogs’ welfare charity, Dogs Trust, is microchipping up to 116 dogs a day, free of charge this month.
Owners must also ensure that the correct data for their microchipped dog is registered on an approved database and will still need to hold a dog licence.
Mr Beazley said the new process would reduce the number of dogs being destroyed unnecessarily.
“In countries where compulsory microchipping of dogs has been introduced there has been a drastic reduction in the number of animals destroyed in pounds.” said Mr Beazley.
According to figures released by the Department of the Environment, around 3,500 dogs were put to sleep in pounds last year. Many of the animals were healthy, well-adjusted pets.
Mandatory registration and certification would also help families to identify whether they were getting a puppy from a reputable breeder.
“We believe it will make it easier to identify genuine dog breeders and to isolate the unscrupulous puppy farms or traffickers,” said Mr Beazley.
All Puppies born from June 1 onwards must be microchipped under the Microcipping of Dogs Regulations 2015.
Veterinary surgeon, Finbarr Heslin from www.fido.ie said puppies had been transported into Ireland from Eastern Europe, increasing the risk of diseases like rabies being introduced into Ireland.
“Rabies can be fatal to humans. In an unregulated market, the threat is a real one,” said Mr Heslin.
A microchip is a tiny device about the size of a grain of rice that contains a unique 15 digit number. It is inserted using a sterile needle under the dog’s skin between the shoulder blades.
Microchipping a dog costs between €20 and €50, depending on whether a health check is required as well.
Local authorities, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the gardaí will be responsible for enforcing the law.
Owners of dogs found without a chip after April 2016 will have a short time to have the procedure carried out. Those who refuse could face a fine of up to €5,000.
If the authorities come across unchipped dogs, particularly when investigating animal welfare issues, dog fighting or illegal exports of puppies, the owners will face fines of up to €5,000 per animal..
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