Welfare groups may chip in for dog owners

Animal welfare groups may be able to microchip dogs at subsidised rates for those who cannot afford to pay for a visit to the vet.

Welfare groups may chip in for dog owners

The news comes after Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney announced plans to make the microchipping of dogs mandatory.

Mr Coveney is to engage with stakeholders to discuss the proposal in the coming weeks with a decision on the system to be introduced due to be made by the summer.

Dogs Trust executive director Mark Beazley said that while vets normally administer the microchip, in Northern Ireland and Britain non-veterinary personnel have also been trained to carry out the procedure, Mr Beazley said Dogs Trust would be willing to commit money to offer the service at a subsidised rate for those genuinely not able to afford to pay for a vet’s visit.

“As Ireland’s largest dog welfare charity, reducing Ireland’s stray dog population is at the very heart of what we do, which is why we are willing to commit a considerable amount of money to ensure no Irish dog owner will lack the financial ability to microchip their dog.

“Currently, microchipping involves a minimal one-off cost, but the benefits last a lifetime.”

Mr Beazley said compulsory microchipping would help to reduce the burden on animal welfare charities and reduce the cost to local authorities of kennelling stray dogs.

“The reality is that no matter how responsible an owner you are, there is a chance your dog could get lost or stolen — microchipping is the most effective way to assist in a lost dog being returned to their owner. Whether it’s an abandoned stray or much-loved family pet, there is no such thing as hierarchy in dog pounds.”

Chief inspector of the ISPCA Conor Dowling also welcomed the move and said he did not expect progress on the issue so quickly.

“We believe that identification and traceability is vital with regard to the welfare of all species. While we had made representations on compulsory microchipping of dogs, we really did not expect any movement on the issue so quickly. We are delighted with this development and would like to congratulate Minister Coveney on his progressive approach to this matter.”

The ISPCA also stressed the urgency of improved measures relating to the microchipping and identification of horses.

The organisation has been vocal in recent months on how its resources have been stretched to capacity as a result of the number of horse rescues it is having to carry out.

Microchip procedure and value explained

Dogs Trust advice on microchipping your dog:

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a small electronic device, which is the size of a grain of rice. The microchip is coded with a unique number that can be read by a scanner.

How is the microchip implanted?

Using a specially designed implanting device the microchip is injected through a sterile needle under the dog’s skin.

Where is the microchip implanted?

In dogs, the microchip is implanted under the skin, between the shoulder blades.

Does it hurt?

No anaesthetic is required and the procedure should cause no more discomfort than a standard vaccination.

How does the microchip stay in place?

Once the microchip has been inserted, the dog’s body tissue surrounding the microchip attaches itself, preventing movement of the chip.

Why does the body not reject the microchip?

The microchip is encased in the same material that is used in human pacemakers. The microchip and the implanting equipment are sterilised before use, so the dog’s body does not reject the microchip.

Who has a scanner?

These can be found at most veterinary practices, local authorities, and animal welfare groups. They are used to check stray dogsto see if they have been microchipped — if the dog has he can then be returned to the owner easily and quickly.

How are the owners traced?

If an animal is found to have a microchip, the local authority, vet, or animal welfare organisation contacts a national database to find the owner’s details. The owner can be contacted and be reunited with their dog.

What if the owner changes address?

Your registration document will tell you which database has your dog registered and their contact details. If you need to make any changes to your dog’s registered details, such as moving house, you should contact your database operator. Owners of microchip scanners have special access to the databases to allow them to contact you if they find your dog.

Where can I get my dog microchipped?

Most veterinary practices in Ireland can microchip your dog, along with a growing number of local authorities and animal welfare groups.

How much will it cost?

You can expect to pay €20 to €50 to have a dog microchipped at the vet. Local authorities may also run schemes.

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