Dog owners are being urged to ensure their microchip details are up-to-date, or face having their pet put to sleep if they stray.
The charity Dogs Trust has released its annual Stray Dog Survey which showed that 6,667 stray dogs in the central area, which includes the East Midlands, were not claimed by their owners and left in council kennels between 2015 and 2016.
And ten per cent of these face possible destruction because the owners haven’t updated their microchip details.
Overall the number of stray and abandoned dogs in the central area fell by 17 per cent from 18,327 in 2015 to 15,038 this year, but an estimated 838 strays had to be reluctantly put to sleep by local authorities.
Happily, 8,731 strays were reunited with their owners, 1,693 as a direct result of the dog having a microchip. It is hoped this number will increase across the region after microchipping became compulsory for all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales earlier this year.
Ella Tonge, Supporter Relations Officer at Dogs Trust Loughborough comments: “It’s shocking to learn that 10 per cent of the unclaimed dogs in Central are actually much-loved family pets who are left languishing in kennels or, worse, face being put to sleep without their owner’s knowledge, simply because their owners were too forgetful to update their details on the microchip database. It’s heartbreaking that these lost dogs will never find their way home, as it’s something which could so easily have been avoided with a bit of forward planning.
“Microchipping became compulsory in Northern Ireland in 2012 and in England, Scotland and Wales on 6th April this year but it’s not enough for owners to get their dogs microchipped, it’s also a legal requirement for them to make sure their details are up to date on the relevant microchip database too. Stray dogs that find themselves at Dogs Trust are the lucky ones, as we will never put a healthy dog to sleep, but not all of the unclaimed dogs are so fortunate. Microchipping is the most effective way of ensuring a beloved pet is safely reunited with its owner, but this simply cannot happen without the details on the relevant database being up-to-date.”