Compulsory Chipping but not Scanning


Hopefully your dogs are all chipped, as the new law comes into effect tomorrow, 6th April 2016. All dog owners in England need to have their dog microchipped and the details registered on one of the approved databases.

compulsory dog microchipping but not chip scanningHowever, once your dog is chipped, don't necessarily assume that they will be quickly returned home if they go missing. That is not always going to be the case. The new microchippng law has a flaw that hasn't been addressed.

The National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT), one of the UK’s top animal welfare charities, have made a video explaining the new compulsory microchipping law and what the new law won't do.

NAWT CEO Clare Williams explains that the micrchip is not counted as proof of ownership. But the biggest and most worrying flaw is that this new law is not accompanied by a compulsory microchip scanning law. While many organisations do scan dogs, microchip scanning is not a legal requirement. This means that there is a risk that your dog may be found but not scanned.

Pretty shocking isn't it. As you can imagine, a microchip is useless unless it is actually scanned by someone.

Many of us assume that compulsory scanning is already in place but it is not. So how can missing or stolen dogs be reunited with their owners if their chips are not scanned?

Vets Get Scanning (VGS) point out that "It's no good giving all dogs microchips if all vets, agencies and other establishments do not scan and check microchips as standard procedure every and any time an animal is dealt with for the first time, whether dead or alive."

VGS started a petition for compulsory microchip scanning but sadly, at 70,799 signatures, this was not enough to get the proposal considered for debate in Parliament.

They have laid out the following facts about microchips. It makes sobering reading:

  • Is a microchip proof of ownership? NO
  • Do all vets scan pets with owners at registration? NO
  • Do all rescues scan before rehoming? NO
  • Do all rescues cross check surrendered pets with microchip registration? NO
  • Do all council pounds scan before seven day deadline? NO
  • Do all Highway Agencies and council roads scan deceased pets? NO
  • Do all Network Rail agencies scan deceased pets? NO
  • Do all exit ports from the UK scan pets leaving the UK? NO

Unfortunately, until or if ever the law changes, all we can do is make sure that any dog we find, rescue, purchase or rehome is scanned for a chip. Your local vet will be able to do this for you. It is the right thing to do. The dog may belong to someone else.

Microchipping help

As well as microchipping your dog, it is incredibly important to keep those details up to date. If you are not sure how to check your dog's chip or update it, please see How To Check Your Dog's Microchip Details.

By Jenny Prevel

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Caroline Chapman
06 April 2016  |  21:48

Thank you for collating all this information for us. Since getting my dog chipped at 8 weeks old she has been registered with 2 further vets & neither of them checked for a microchip. They should know better! I signed the petition with Vets Get Scanning for compulsory scanning, shame we didn't get enough signatures :( Sharing your article via facebook.

Raina Kirkham-Cope
07 April 2016  |  9:48

Our dog WAS microchipped. After a week we noticed a lump, made an appointment with the vet, by week 2 the lump was the size of a golf ball. It had grown even more by operation day. The tumour had grown around the microchip. The vet has now exempt us from this new (very flawed) law. Tracer (Microchip company) paid for the Operation, After care & lab tests.

Soggy Doggy
08 April 2016  |  22:47

If you have not chipped your dog, and who would know? , then you have 28 days to comply or get an exemption certificate from the vet. Don't be bullied. This money spinner has NOT superseded the law that the dog must wear a collar with owners details. Helpful to me if I find your dog in the park Sunday afternoon, a chip won't help me further at that point.

Soggy Doggy
08 April 2016  |  22:54

Next thought: As a groomer I can tell you that the chip migrates around the body, including the spine and organs. Why is it put so near the spine anyway? Why not intramuscular in the thigh?
As a breeder of a giant breed I would not dream of chipping before growing is mostly finished, complications are too likely. I'm not going to do something which I know to be at best risky and with a possible bill of astronomical proportions. Never mind a ruined dog. 2 customers of mine are now the proud owners of paralysed chihuahuas. Hmm.

The Flea
27 April 2016  |  18:09

As a Veterinary Nurse I would recommend getting dogs and cats microchipped. We have reunited numerous pets and their owners because the pets have been chipped. It is not a money spinner as numerous charities and dog wardens chip for free or a nominal cost. If you can't afford to have your dog microchipped you probably wont be able to afford the upkeep and proper care of a dog. Modern microchips are much less likely to migrate - the chip is placed under the skin and should not cause paralysis. The very unfortunate Chihuahuas may not have been chipped by trained personnel which is now a requirement. To chip into the thigh muscle would be VERY painful and more risky than placing the chip under the skin in the "scruff" of the neck. I agree that vets should scan new client's pets and keep the details on their records. I would also like to remind owners to keep their details up to date - it is REALLY frustrating and disappointing to scan a dog only to find the owners have neglected to update their details. The dog then has to be sent to the dog warden. Legally all stray or found dogs MUST be reported to the local dog warden.

Soggy Doggy
02 May 2016  |  19:47

Both chihuahuas were done in the local vets. Unimpressed by the whole shambles. Roadkill doesn't get scanned around here in South Wales.

Mrs Smith
02 May 2016  |  15:25

This is another example of knee jerk legislation that has not been thoroughly tested. It is unreasonable to expect owners to get dogs chipped in the knowledge that there is a good chance that if lost, injured or killed, it is questionable as to whether it will be scanned. Like The Dangerous Dogs Act, it was hurried through without proper consideration of the consequences and will be a waste of money if it not amended.

Toy Dog Breeder
03 May 2016  |  15:09

I recommend that soggy doggy takes a micro chip training course as I did last autumn, in preparation for this legislation and so that I can be sure my own puppies are properly chipped with as little trauma as possible. As for not scanning them. Well there is no excuse for that.

Sarah Wheeler
04 May 2016  |  5:00

It's a shame their wasn't more publicity like this when the petition, asking the government to make it compulsory for scanning to be done, was running.
The petition didn't get enough support despite the best intentions of it's supporters. If it is a legal requirement to microchip a dog then it should be a legal requirement to scan them. I for one am sick of the government treating lost and stolen pets as if they are no more important than a lost handbag.
It is unforgiveable that dogs are found knocked over on the road or picked up by the dog warden and are never scanned. It makes a mockery of the whole system and leaves countless owners completely devastated.
The government insist however that scanning does take place so a change in the law isn't needed. They have been provided with countless evidence to show that this isn't the case, but as usual because it affects animals they just don't care.