Welfare was another big concern, with worries over adverse reactions to chips, the wisdom of chipping a dog that was old or debilitated and an objection to chipping a much loved member of the family.
An additional area of rebellion is the requirement to keep contact details relating to the microchip up to date. Of those that had cause to change their details, 31% confessed they have never updated them. Some commented on what they said was the unreasonably high cost to change address details which in some cases is about 75% of the original cost of the chip. As one pet owner commented, “This is totally unacceptable. I can change my bank details etc without charge.” Another said, “I found it extraordinarily complicated and long winded to change my address.”
Nearly 150 pet owners responded to the survey and 26% of dog owners said their pet was not chipped. Of those, 53% said they had no intention of having their dog chipped and 20% are currently undecided, meaning the vast majority of the unchipped have no positive plans to comply. Around half of those surveyed said they did not know that microchipping of dogs was to become compulsory until informed by MedicAnimal.
Although it won’t be compulsory to microchip cats, 60% of respondents said their cat was already chipped. Of the remainder, only one in four are likely to microchip in the future.
However, microchipping can be hugely beneficial, both in terms of reuniting pets and owners and reducing the burden on animal charities. Losing a pet is relatively common and 24% of respondents said they had lost a pet. In most cases (47%) the pet had just disappeared, where the reason was known it was most common for the pet to escape from a home or garden (22%) and another 16 per cent had run off during a walk. Five per cent said their pet has been let out of the house or garden maliciously. Of those who had lost a pet, 14% said their pet was returned to them as a result of being chipped.
Andrew Bucher, Vet and MedicAnimal founder, says the company feels it is important to give pet owners a voice, “While some people have positive experiences of microchips and appreciate the benefits, there is clearly a group that feel disenfranchised by having microchipping enforced upon them and some genuine concern over the wellbeing of pets. Whilst I understand there are occasionally some reactions to the microchip, I believe strongly that the risk is very much outweighed by the benefit of finding your lost or stolen dog. Any dog charity in the country will tell you how common it is to have an animal put to sleep as a result of no owner being found. The bigger issue here is how enforceable this new law will be and the fact that non-responsible dog owners may ‘get away with it’. Veterinarians can also help with dog theft by ensuring that all new client dogs are scanned prior to registration at their clinic and more pressure has to be applied to the microchipping industry to reduce the disproportionate cost of updating owner details.”
Thoughts from current pet owners include:
“I don't trust the government. They could be putting anything into our pets”.
“I doubt that microchips do not have negative side effects on cats or dogs mainly as this technology interacts with radio frequencies emitted by cell phone towers, just to give one example. We simply don't know what the long-term effects on behaviour, endocrine and immune system will be.”
“I was out in the woods with my dog and we heard hunting shots fired in the distance, my dog freaked out and ran off. We spent three hours looking for her. As it happens she had run straight home and a neighbour had seen her run down the road and so opened our back gate and let her into our rear garden. But it could have been so different especially as she ran down the middle of the road until she reached our house and could have been injured and taken away before she reached the garden and we had returned. Microchipping is a life saver as far as I am concerned and I am glad it is becoming law. They should also bring back the dog license too!”
“I think there should be system that scans animals in vets as people who take other people's pets often do not tell vet it was found, maybe make it a logging in for appointments system, that way there is no more pet stealing.”
“I would like to update my details for the microchips on my dogs but want to charge me £16 per dog. This is totally unacceptable. I can change my bank details etc without charge so why ? A tax on responsible pet owners perhaps?”
“I do Not agree with compulsory micro chipping, micro chips can migrate and cause problems as in one of my own pets, this law will have no effect on irresponsible pet owners. A suitable collar and information tag is still the best way forward, and as this is the law at the moment how many people adhere to this? Any future dog I have will not be microchipped by me.”
“I found it extraordinarily complicated and long winded to change my address with . The complications are entirely unnecessary and very time consuming. Obviously many pet owners just give up!”
“she will be 15 years old and i can crawl faster than she walks she does not like vet get very stressed so do not want to put her through that.”
When I was little we had a cat that just disappeared one day. Thinking back to how heartbroken I was, it's something that I never want happening to my children. They both adore animals and I hate for something to happen to one of their animals and for them to be upset.
Pop over to MedicAnimal and take a look at their #Smiles4Pets campaign.
Do you have your animals microchipped? What are your thoughts?
(Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.)