The Dog Identification Group (DIG) has reformed to review the position of permanent identification of dogs in the UK and to establish the best way forward in the light of current circumstances.
This reformed group includes representatives from a broad raft of charities and organisations including the Blue Cross, NCDL, RSPCA, the Kennel Club, Battersea Dogs Home, Wood Green Animal Shelters, Local Government Authority and the NDWA.
A priority of the Group is to ensure DEFRAs participation in the reformed dog identification group. The proposed Animal Welfare Bill, which Is likely to include the concept of a duty of care towards all animals held captive by man, also highlights the need for Government involvement in this important animal welfare issue.
Representatives from the veterinary professional bodies have not yet been involved in meetings of the group and it is hoped that they will join future discussions, particularly as veterinary surgeons are currently implanting approximately 50% of microchips in the UK.
The group decided to form two sub groups to take forward the key aspects of the DIG report. The database sub group will focus on the database standard for the collection, maintenance and use of records to ensure that pets are reunited with their owners as quickly as possible should they stray or go missing.
A focus group will also be established to coordinate and seek funding for an extensive public information campaign in order to ensure that as many dog owners are aware of the benefits of microchipping and understand the importance of ensuring that their dogs can be identified in the event that they become separated from their owners.
The chairman of the group, NCDL Veterinary Director, Chris Laurence, said "The original report of the Dog Identification Group submitted to government in 1999 recommended that the benefits of permanent identification should be promoted to encourage more owners to have their dogs microchipped or tattooed voluntarily rather than resorting to compulsion by law. This is a course of action that the reformed group agree with, and it is our intention to present recommendations to the All Party Group for Animal Welfare in the autumn in order to gain the support of MPs for a new public awareness campaign".