Minister leads by example in microchipping drive
Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has appealed to all dog owners in the north to have their dogs microchipped in advance of new requirements coming into force in April.
The Minister was speaking today as she was joined by The Dogs Trust who microchipped her dog, “Stewie”.
Minister O’Neill said: “I intend to commence in early April the final provisions in the Dogs (Amendment) Act which will require dogs to be microchipped as part of their licensing conditions. I want to lead by example, so I have had my dog Stewie microchipped today by the Dogs Trust.”
The Minister continued: “I would like to put on record my thanks to the Dogs Trust for the invaluable work their organisation carries out in relation to dog welfare. Microchipping is an essential part of dog control and I am grateful to the Dogs Trust for taking forward a campaign to promote microchipping in the north. I would encourage all dog owners to take advantage of the Dogs Trust’s generous offer of free microchipping before it becomes a compulsory requirement in April.”
The provisions in the Act to deal with dangerous dogs were commenced on 28 July 2011, which was a major step forward in dealing with the issue of dog attacks and aims to make such horrific attacks a thing of the past. In addition, the control conditions for problem dogs and the increase in licence fees and fixed penalties, which came into operation on 3 October 2011, provides enhanced powers for dog wardens and additional funding for Councils.
The Minister added: “When the final provision on microchipping is introduced I believe we will have the most comprehensive powers in these islands to deal with the scourge of uncontrolled and stray dogs. It will allow enforcers to hold owners and keepers to account where they have failed to exercise adequate control of their dogs. Anyone who flouts the law by setting, urging or allowing a dog to attack, be that on a person, livestock or pet animal, can expect tough penalties.”