All dogs must be microchipped from 2016, Leicestershire pet owners warned
UNCHIPPED dogs in Leicestershire will be offered a free microchip thanks to Dogs Trust in Loughborough.
The news comes following the announcement by environment secretary Owen Paterson, that the Government will introduce compulsory microchipping for all dogs in the UK from April 6, 2016.
According to DEFRA, more than 100,000 dogs are dumped or lost at a cost of £57million to the taxpayer and welfare charities, every year.
The Government's aim is to help reunite owners with lost or stolen pets, relieve the burden on animal charities and local authorities and protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible dog ownership.
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Microchips are the size of a grain of rice and are inserted between the animal's shoulder blades with an injection.
A number will then show on a microchip scanner which can be used to identify the animal and its owner.
Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity which has a branch in Loughborough, will be offering free microchips for all unchipped dogs in England.
Clarissa Baldwin, chief executive of Dogs Trust, said: "We are delighted that the Government has taken this prescient move to introduce compulsory microchipping for all dogs in England.
"This will help to reduce the number of dogs that needlessly end up with an uncertain fate in council pounds and rescue centres when their owners simply cannot be traced. We urge dog owners to view microchipping as part and parcel of dog ownership and, importantly, also take responsibility for keeping their contact details up to date."
Leicester Animal Rescue centre, whose kennels are based near Billesdon in Leicestershire, has also welcomed the news.
Centre manager Fiona Price said: "If every animal is microchipped we can find out if they are strays, but it's really important owners keep their details up to date.
"All the animals that come to us, that's cats and dogs, are automatically microchipped so hopefully they never become strays again."
Currently there are around 8million pet dogs in the UK.
Nearly 60 per cent are already chipped.Owners will be able to get their dog microchipped for free at any of the 18 Dogs Trust centres across the UK, and free microchips will be offered by Dogs Trust to local authorities, housing associations and veterinary surgeries.
Mr Paterson also announced that the police are being given new powers to tackle dangerous dogs and keep the public safe.
The laws on dog attacks will be extended to cover private property, closing a loophole which has meant that dog owners whose animals have attacked people on private property are immune from prosecution.
Eight children and six adults have been killed in dog attacks since 2005, with many of these attacks taking place in the home.
In the last year alone, over 3,000 postal workers were attacked by dangerously out of control dogs, and 70 per cent of these attacks happened on private property.
Householders, however, will be protected from prosecution if their dog attacks a burglar or trespasser on their land.
Mr Paterson said: "Most people take proper care of their dogs but there are a small minority of people who behave irresponsibly, allowing their dogs to threaten and attack people."
Previously all such dogs had to be kennelled until after proceedings had concluded, even if they posed no risk to the public.
The changes follow a consultation which ran from April 23, 2012 to June 15, 2012.
Over 27,000 people responded to the consultation and a breakdown of their responses at defra