The RSPCA call for Local Authority Dog Wardens to routinely scan dogs that have been seized as strays drew an angry response from the National Dogs’ Warden Association.
Committee member Neil Burton said ‘this just goes to show how much the RSPCA’s desk bound staff officers actually know about the day to day operation of local authority dog and animal control.
‘This information had been gleaned via a Freedom of Information Act request that as predicted by NDWA at the time would be used against Dog Wardens’ continued Mr Burton, a Dog Warden with fourteen years experience. ‘At my council we check dog collars for a tag, take the collars off and check both sides for any writing (as some people write on their dogs collar), scan for a microchip and then check ears for tattoos’ he said.
Stray dogs that are wearing a collar and tag are still scanned and if the dog has a microchip with different details this is checked out.
The RSPCA reports that only one in three councils have a written policy for dogs to be scanned although almost councils have scanners, perhaps councils think that their Dog Wardens who are actually working with stray dogs will scan them without having to have a written policy to do so?
A lot of Dog Wardens enjoy excellent partnership working with RSPCA Inspectors and there are some great local schemes where both sides assist the other to the benefit of animal welfare in general.
Approximately 40 per cent of the stray dogs seized during 2006-2007 by the council that Mr Burton works for had microchips with incorrect details, so far from the microchip being the best way for the dog to be reunited it was literally of no use whatsoever.
NDWA supports all forms of identification if it enables a dog to be reunited with its owner but wishes to point out that currently the legal requirement for dogs out in a public place is a collar with a tag or plate attached to the collar with the name and address of the owner on it. The only exceptions are certain categories of working dogs.
The reason so many people fail to keep their personal details up to date on the microchip may be down to the fact that they have to pay a charge to amend any details?
As there is a school of thought that believes microchips should be made a legal method of identification, perhaps people should be prosecuted for not keeping their details up to date?