Chips are down for farm dogs

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Scotland’s farmers and crofters are being reminded that from tomorrow (6 April) all dogs in Scotland over eight weeks of age, including the faithful farm collie, will need to be microchipped and registered on an approved database.

NFUS had asked Scottish Government for working dogs to be excluded but the only exemptions permitted are for individual animals under veterinary certification for welfare reasons.

That means that for the vast majority of farm dogs, chipping is now a requirement.

In addition, the database must be kept up to date with owner details and notified of any change in owner, address or contact details.

Litters of pups and dogs must be chipped and registered before pups are sold or ownership changes, and any pups or dogs entering Scotland must be chipped and registered within 30 days of arrival.

NFU Scotland’s Animal Health Policy Manager Penny Johnston said: “With many of Scotland’s farmers and shepherds in the throes of the lambing season, this is a deadline that may have slipped the mind but it is one they need to address when they get the chance.

“While the Union supported the principal of compulsory microchipping in a bid to improve the control of dogs and help address the growing issue of sheep worrying, we had requested an exemption for working dogs.

“We believe farmers and working shepherds are likely to be disproportionately impacted by this regulation, as they tend to have more dogs than most pet owners.

“Also, working farm dogs rarely leave their owner’s farm, which we hoped would have negated the need for microchipping. Unfortunately these arguments were not taken up and no exemption exists for farm dogs.

“That means, with few exceptions, all dogs will need to be chipped. Costs are thought to be in the region of £30 per dog depending on the veterinary practice.

“We think there is merit for members with several dogs to discuss a discount with their vet and also consider asking the vet to chip any farm dogs whilst out on the farm performing other duties.

“It is also worth reminding farmers and crofters that all litters of pups born will need to be microchipped by 8 weeks of age and before any change of ownership takes place.

“The only exemptions will be individual veterinary certification for reasons of animal welfare.

“And on purchasing a pup or adult dog, it will be the new keeper’s responsibility to notify their details to the database on which the dog’s details are recorded, unless the previous keeper has already done so.

“If bringing a dog into Scotland, the onus is on the new owner to determine if the dog is already chipped.

“If it has been chipped, then the database must be updated with the new details. If the dog hasn’t been previously chipped, then owners must have the dog chipped and registered within 30 days of arrival.”