Wales

Dog microchipping: 'High support' in Wales

Group of dogs outside a restaurant
Image caption Microchipping involves inserting a sterile chip the size of a rice grain between a dog's shoulder blades

There has been a "high level of support" for proposals to introduce compulsory microchipping for dogs in Wales, the Welsh government says.

It comes after plans were announced that every dog owner in England will have to microchip their animal from 2016.

The Welsh government said it had consulted on the same plans and could bring in legislation before England.

Microchips are coded with owners' details to help identify strays.

The RSPCA has welcomed the proposals for England, announced on Wednesday.

But it said it doubted that they alone would "make owners more responsible or ensure fewer dogs bite people".

The Welsh government consulted on the compulsory microchipping of dogs over the summer of 2012.

It said it will publish a summary of the consultation responses shortly "but early indication shows a high level of support for this policy".

A spokesperson added: "We hope to introduce legislation around compulsory microchipping later this year with a view to it coming into force before England's proposed introduction date of 2016. "

It came after a campaign from Cardiff North AM Julie Morgan who said that someone is attacked by a dog three times every week in Wales.

Speaking last year, she said she was prompted to take action after a dog attack on a young boy in her constituency.

"The little boy's injuries were horrifying and the trauma he suffered was dreadful," she said.

"This prompted me to explore ways of improving the law both to give more protection to the public and also to improve the welfare of dogs".

Free service

Currently some animal charities, such as the Dogs Trust, offer a free microchipping service to owners.

The procedure, which costs about £20-£30 at a private veterinary clinic, involves inserting a sterile chip the size of a grain of rice between a dog's shoulder blades.

Compulsory microchipping was introduced in Northern Ireland in April 2012.

The Scottish government has said that, while it recognised the benefits of microchipping, there was "no evidence compulsory microchipping would effectively tackle welfare issues

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