The British government announced earlier this week that from April 2016, all dogs will have to be microchipped as part of a government effort to reduce the huge number of abandoned dogs and increase the responsibility of dog owners, the Guardian reported. Those who refuse to do so can be fined up to $800.
In addition to tracking lost pets, according to the Telegraph, the microchips will help the government create a database of dog owners so dangerous animals can be more easily traced back to their masters.
Owen Paterson, Britain’s Environment Secretary, told the Telegraph that 110,000 dogs were lost every year and that stray dogs cost taxpayers and welfare charities nearly $90 million annually.
“It is ludicrous that in a nation of dog lovers, thousands of dogs are roaming the streets or stuck in kennels because the owner can’t be tracked down,” he said. “I am determined to put an end to this and ease the pressure on charities and councils to find new homes for these dogs.”
But others say the microchip mandate is an unreasonable solution. Paul Green, member of the British organization Social Amenities for the Golden Age, said the issue of dangerous dogs is more about dangerous owners and warned that the new requirement would hurt retirees unfairly. “The idea that a grandmother’s Yorkshire Terrier is going to savage someone in a public park is ridiculous,” Green said.
“It is important that these measures are proportionate,” he told the Telegraph. “It should not be law-abiding dog owners who end up suffering and being fined because of these laws.”
(More: A Dog Breed Dying Out)