Stolen Sable home after 4 years – but new Battersea research reveals two thirds of stray dogs won’t be as lucky

04 JULY 2017

  • The UK Government claimed this year that 95% of dogs are now microchipped – but new Battersea research reveals only 65% of strays even have a microchip fitted
  • Only 31% of all strays have accurate and up-to-date details attached to their microchip so their owners can be traced
  • Battersea is calling for Local Authorities, charities, vets and dog owners to work together to improve this

After she was stolen from their East Sussex farm four years ago, Sable’s owners Roger and Julie Verity thought they'd never see their beloved Cocker Spaniel again - until they received a phone call from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home last month.

The eight-year-old dog had been brought to Battersea and when the world-renowned charity scanned her for a microchip, they were able to contact the family. They rushed down to collect her, delighted to be reunited with the dog they had been heartbroken to lose many years before.

A year after compulsory microchipping was introduced in Great Britain, there are still so many stray dogs who would not be as lucky as Sable. Despite the UK Government’s claim this year that 95% of all dogs are now microchipped, a new report published by Battersea today reveals only 65% of strays taken in by Local Authorities across the UK even have a chip fitted and too few of them are up to date.

While this is a welcome improvement from 45% of stray dogs chipped when Battersea ran the same survey in 2016, it falls far short of the Government’s claim.

More worryingly, the report into more than 50 Local Authorities also showed that of those dogs with a chip, more than half had out-of-date details, making the chip redundant.

Battersea's Chief Executive, Claire Horton, said: "Sable’s story spells out the importance of microchipping and Battersea’s new report shows there’s a lot more work to do to ensure pet dogs are all microchipped.

“Our research shows that when it comes to strays, where microchipping matters most, around a third are still not microchipped at all. Only two-thirds of strays taken in by Local Authorities have a microchip and many of those are registered with completely out-of-date information.

“Microchipping your dog is a simple, painless procedure and many Local Authorities and rescue centres, including Battersea, offer it free of charge to all dog owners. It could save you and your dog heartache and distress – without Sable’s microchip, we would never have been able to reunite her with her owners.”

Her owner, Julie Verity, added: “It’s wonderful to know that Sable is safe after all this time. The worst thing all this time has been not knowing what’s happened to her - not knowing if she was happy or if she was being mistreated. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved at Battersea, they were all so kind.”   


Notes to editors 

  • 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. 
  • Battersea’s new report, Microchipping Where It Matters: A Year On, was published today (4 July) and can be found here.
  • The Report features information gathered from over 50 Local Authorities throughout April 2017.
  • The Report shows that 65% of all strays in 2017 were fitted with a microchip, however only 31% of all strays also had accurate details, and could be returned home.
  • In April 2016 Battersea published Microchipping Where It Matters – a similar study that showed 45% of strays were microchipped at that time.
  • Sable was stolen from her home in February 2013. It was reported to the police immediately.
  • On 6 April 2016, it was made law that dogs must be microchipped in Great Britain.
  • Since it was founded, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • For further information on Battersea Dogs & Cats Home please visit
  • Follow Battersea on Twitter @BDCH or