All dogs in Scotland will need a microchip under planned changes to the law announced today.
It is believed compulsory microchipping will help authorities to identify dog owners and hold them accountable for their dogs’ behaviour.
The move will also help reunite lost or stolen dogs with their owners and address animal welfare issues according to the Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.
The announcement has been welcomed by the Scottish Conservatives who claimed the law change is “well overdue”.
However they warned there was still more work to be done to control ‘puppy farms’ and the growth in the sale of puppies and dogs online.
Mr Lochhead said: “Scotland is a nation of animal lovers, and so we must do all we can to safeguard dog welfare and promote responsible ownership.
“The owners of out of control dogs can be required to microchip their dogs under existing legislation, and I understand that around two thirds of the dogs in Scotland have already been microchipped on a voluntary basis.”
He added: “I can now confirm that compulsory microchipping will be introduced in Scotland next year, after it was overwhelmingly backed in our public consultation. This will be a huge help in reducing the number of lost and abandoned dogs in Scotland.”
Nanette Milne, Scottish Conservative MSP, welcomed the move.
However she said: “There are still a number of outstanding issues which the compulsory microchipping of all dogs will not address namely puppy farms and the growth in the sale of puppies and dogs online as well as the indiscriminate breeding of dogs in social rented properties and the lack of enforcement and dog control by local authorities.”
Dog Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is offering free microchipping to all unchipped dogs in Scotland at mobile drop-in events and at its two rehoming centres in Glasgow and West Calder.