Time to try dog licences again?

Joseph Bulmer

SIR - Four years ago I wrote to our local MP about dog registration and chipping. I proposed a fee of �50 with safeguards for OAPs. This is the reply I received from Defra.

“With regard to dog licensing, a dog registration scheme would be likely to face the same problems that the old dog licensing scheme had previously. Dog licences were abolished by the Local Government Act 1988 because they cost more to administer than the revenue they generated.

“Additionally, it was estimated that only 44 per cent of dog owners bought a licence. The Government has no plans to reintroduce a licence or registration scheme.

“There is no evidence to suggest that the opinion of dog owners has changed and that any new scheme would be more effective at reaching those whose pets cause problems.

“Whilst responsible dog owners would willingly comply with any licensing requirement, the minority of irresponsible owners who cause problems would be the ones most likely to try to evade any licensing scheme. Instead, Defra supports voluntary identification, whereby dog owners voluntarily undertake to have their pets permanently identified and registered on nationwide databases.

“Mr Harper also mentions micro-chipping dogs. The Dog Identification Group (DlG) recommended in its report from 2000 that a voluntary scheme for the permanent identification of dogs be introduced.

“Since the DIG report, there has been an increase in voluntary dog registration. At the forefront of this is Petlog, which is the largest pet reunification service in the UK. It manages a database of over 3,500,000 records. This is on hand, 24-hours-a-day to authorised bodies such as animal wardens or animal welfare centres, who can scan the chips in found animals and trace their owners via the Petlog database. Today up to 40-50 per cent of dogs are registered on the Petlog system.”

Perhaps it is time to try again.

Charles Harper, Instow.