The chips are down: Too many owners still gambling a year after microchips made law

One year after it became law for owners to microchip their dogs, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home reveals almost half the strays that come through its doors are still unchipped. Today (6 April), on the anniversary since compulsory microchipping was introduced, the charity has released photos of some of the many stray dogs that came into its centres without microchips and were found new homes.

Since 6 April 2016, when the law was introduced, the world-famous animal charity has taken in 934 stray dogs across its three sites in London, Windsor and Kent. Many are taken in from Local Authorities, while others are brought in by worried members of the public.

Of these, just 480 were microchipped - a rise of almost ten per cent year-on-year from April 2015 but still not enough.

While a dog that is chipped is almost twice as likely to be claimed as one that is not chipped, the chip must be kept up to date with their owner’s contact details – failure to do so means Local Authorities and animal shelters are still unable to trace the previous owners. Of all microchipped strays brought in to Battersea since the law was introduced, only 44% were reunited with their owners.

One stray still waiting for a home is Pandora, an energetic and sweet-natured nine-month-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Without a chip, her owner could not be traced so she is now looking for a new family to take her home.

Battersea’s Deputy Chief Executive, Peter Laurie, said: “These pictures show 12 other lovely stray dogs, like Pandora, that have come into our care with no way of tracing their owners. Luckily, we found loving new homes for all these dogs, but we continue to see the consequences of owners failing to chip their animals.

“It’s encouraging to see that more of the strays that come to Battersea are microchipped but there are still so many who aren’t. A microchip is the size of a grain of rice and is totally painless for an animal – there just isn’t a good reason not to get it done, especially now it’s been law for a year.

“By making a decision not to chip their pet or not keeping the chip’s details updated, the owner is gambling that their dog will never go missing. Unfortunately, dogs run away, escape and get stolen – it’s not worth the risk. It’s a simple procedure that could save both you and your pet from weeks of misery and distress.” 

Battersea chips every animal in its care and offers free microchipping to all dog owners at its three sites.

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Images can be found here, or for more information please contact 020 7627 9322 or email press@battersea.org.uk.

Notes to editors  

  • Microchipping became compulsory for dog owners on April 6 2016.
  • Last year Battersea published a report, Microchipping Where It Matters, showing only 1 in 5 lost dogs have up to date chips.
  • Established in 1860, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home aims never to turn away a dog or cat in need of our help, caring for them until their owners or loving new homes can be found, no matter how long it takes. We are champions for, and supporters of, vulnerable dogs and cats, determined to create lasting changes for animals in our society.  
  • Since it was founded, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats. 
  • When an unchipped stray comes in Battersea must by law wait for seven days for an owner to come forward. If no one does, the dog will be assessed for rehoming.
  • In 2016 the Home cared for over 7000 dogs and cats. 
  • Battersea cares for an average of 270 dogs and 200 cats across its three centres at any one time. 
  • There is no time limit on how long an animal can stay at the charity but the average stay for a dog is 35 days and 22 days for a cat.
  • For further information on Battersea Dogs & Cats Home please visit www.battersea.org.uk. 
  • Follow Battersea on Twitter @BDCH or facebook.com/Battersea 

The collage shows a dog brought in as an unchipped stray for each full month since microchipping became compulsory.

  1. Susie, an 18-month old Saluki found in Essex in April 2016
  2. Misty, a year-old Rottweiler found in Lewisham in May 2016.
  3. Sapphire, an 18-month-old Siberian Husky found in Bromley in June 2016.
  4. Shep, a six-year-old Mongrel found in Wokingham in July 2016.
  5. Clive, an eight-year-old Border Collie found in Stanwell in August 2016.
  6. Daisy, a two-year-old Mongrel found in Lewisham in September 2016.
  7. Pedro, a two-year-old Lurcher found in Wokingham in October 2016.
  8. Theodore, a two-year-old Old English Mastiff found in Shepperton in November 2016.
  9. Reginald, a two-year-old Chihuahua found in Epsom in December 2016.
  10. Malia, a six-year-old Jack Russell Terrier found in Esher in January 2017.
  11. Mia, a two-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier found in Barnet in February 2017.
  12. Foxy, a six-year-old Pomeranian found in Wandsworth in March 2017.