Should all dogs have to be licensed by law?
- Credit: RSPCA
All dogs should be compulsorily licensed, claims the RSPCA - because micro-chipping isn't working.
Owners became legally-obliged to have their pets chipped on April 6, 2016.
But one year on, animal lovers now say the law doesn't go far enough to protect pets from abuse or neglect.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Sam Gaines said: 'Compulsory microchipping was a move welcomed by the RSPCA ensuring lost, stolen or missing dogs can be reunited with their rightful owners more quickly which is obviously wonderful news.
'However, there are issues around people keeping their details updated and unfortunately, we are finding animals coming to our attention which are not microchipped. In some cases these are animals which have been abandoned but in others, owners are generally treating their dogs badly and microchipping hasn't been considered. It is also possible that, due to issues around enforcement, some people believe that the likelihood of getting caught is very low so don't get them chipped.
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'While we welcome compulsory microchipping and it is undoubtedly helping reunite dogs and owners, compliance and enforcement issues surrounding the compulsory microchipping legislation remain.
'There are also many issues which compulsory microchipping does not address and that is one reason why the RSPCA maintains its view that dog licensing is the right way to go.'
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The society believes a dog licensing scheme has the potential to generate money which could be used to help improve dog welfare and tackle the issues around irresponsible dog ownership.
It says there needs to be 'a joined up strategy' to manage social and animal problems associated with dog ownership, underpinned and funded by a new dog licence scheme.
This would mean that dog owners would contribute to costs derived from dogs, funds which are currently lacking from central and local Government.
It could also fund resources for a whole host of issues including dog health and welfare, antisocial behaviour involving dogs, dog bite incidents, stray dogs, canine population issues and risks to human health.
The RSPCA says such schemes already operate successfully in other countries, such as Canada.