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Council insists dogs must be microchipped

COUNCIL TENANTS in a south-west London borough will be unable to have a pet dog unless it has been microchipped, under new rules.

Wandsworth Council will perform the procedure for free after concern about the lack of control on dog ownership in the borough. The Council believes that the microchip will enable owners to be easily identified if their dog becomes lost or attacks a person or another animal and so lead to swift action on the Council’s part for any offence caused.

Council leader Edward Lister said: ‘We have got to get a grip on the problem. Ninety-nine per cent of our tenants are totally responsible about their animals but there is this small element which we have got to get a grip on,’ he told BBC London.

Two serious dog attacks have taken place in the borough over the past year, Mr Lister said, and the owners of the animals lived in council-owned property. Youths have also been seen training dogs to fight each other on one of the council's housing estates.

Under the move new council tenants in Wandsworth must agree to have their dogs microchipped under the terms of their tenancy or face eviction. The council aims to extend the requirement to all its housing estate tenants over the next 12 months, a move that would affect 16,000 people.
‘It is very draconian and we do not apologise for that,’ Mr Lister added.

The RSPCA and London's Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have supported the microchipping of pets. However, other organisations expressed reservations. A spokesperson for the Dogs Trust said: ‘Dogs Trust believes that microchipping is the most effective and secure way of permanently identifying a pet. We welcome measures promoting responsible dog ownership but fear Wandsworth Council may have problems monitoring the proposed new scheme.’

Meanwhile the Kennel Club expressed reservations of its own, A spokesperson for the KC said: ‘ We understand Wandsworth Council’s reasons putting these measures in place within council property. However, we believe the importance of training and education cannot be overstressed since displays of aggressive behaviour by any dog, regardless of breed are the responsibility of the dog’s owner and in the wrong hands, any type of dog can be dangerous.’