New proposals to make it easier to reunite lost or stolen cats and dogs with their owners have been set out by the Government.
An eight-week consultation will seek views on improvements to the pet microchipping database system, including faster access for approved users and regular reminders for keeping records updated which will help improve breeder traceability.
The recommendations follow last year’s Pet Theft Taskforce report, which highlighted the need to improve navigation of the database system and the transfer of keepership records.
The consultation seeks views on new requirements for registering additional details and a single point of access so microchip records can quickly be accessed by approved users to help identify the owners and keepers of pets. The transferring of keepership records will also be strengthened to prevent lost or stolen animals being re-registered without the keeper being aware, and to stop the creation of duplicate records.
The proposals aim to improve breeder traceability by making it compulsory for the breeder’s details to remain on the database for the lifetime of the animal – even when the animal changes keeper or when the microchip record is transferred to another database.
Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “Pets are much loved members of the family, and microchipping is the best way of making sure owners can be reunited if their pet is ever sadly lost or stolen.
“We have reviewed the current regulations and the Pet Theft Taskforce’s recommendations, and it is clear improvements are needed to better protect the welfare of our nation’s pets. These proposals will create a more effective system to better animal welfare and deter pet theft.”