Update from Debbie Matthews from vets get scanning and SAMPA
I’ve just had word that Fern’s Law petition will be debated in Parliament on 28th June! I’ve put this letter together for people to send to their MPs , is it OK?
This is the background information:
#FernsLaw debate in Parliament on 28th June 2021.
I’m contacting you to ask you to attend Fern’s Law debate in Parliament, after the petition reached the 100,000 signatures target, asking the Government to ‘Make it compulsory to scan and check microchip registration at pets first veterinary treatment to reunite sold on stolen dogs and cats: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300010
This is something that has been assumed as ‘already happening’ as there is a legal requirement to microchip our dogs. The public at large have been sold the microchip system to protect their pets should they be lost or stolen, with a logical expectation of reunification. Best practice to check microchips is only a recommendation and falls short of any directive or Standard Operations Procedure.
George Eustice, Secretary of State, Defra quote: “Every responsible dog owner wants to know their pet is safe. Microchipping will not only reunite people with their lost or stolen pets, but also help to tackle the growing problem of strays roaming the streets and relieve the burden placed on animal charities and local authorities….We are a nation of dog lovers and microchipping is crucial for both good dog welfare and to provide dog owners with peace of mind.”
This is far from the truth!
Defra have not yet published the results of their Cat and Dog scanning and microchipping Consultation, which included Fern’s Law questions and closed on 17 February 2021.
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) upgraded their Code Of Practice to include checking microchips on healthy dogs prior to euthanasia, in May 2021 (Tuk’s Law).
Focus On Animal Law’s (FOAL) response: It seems a very uncomfortable position to us that identification of a registered owner only becomes relevant either a) when elective euthanasia is requested of a healthy dog, or b) as also suggested, on discovery of a deceased dog. Microchipping can do so much more. There is also a potential trading standards issue. Every one of the microchipping companies and databases state that their microchip will help reunite stolen or lost dogs. This is inaccurate and misleading”.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) have continuously stated they do not support compulsory microchip checks on animal welfare issues, because of stopping a pet thief from seeking veterinary care for the stolen pet, in cases where there is dual ownership and protecting victims of domestic abuse, in cases where the vet would be passing a client’s details on to a potential perpetrator.
Obviously there are procedures in place. If a microchip is confirmed as missing after the registration check, all the vet clinic has to do is inform the microchip database, as they are the data holders, they in turn would contact the registered keeper. Pet thieves don’t steal pets to love and care for them, they will be used, abused or sold on and GDPR compliance would prevent vets from passing on clients details to anyone other than the data controller.
The Kennel Club’s position on Fern’s Law:- We are supportive of the provisions laid out in Fern’s Law petition, which would mandate compulsory scanning and checking microchip registration upon first presentation at a veterinary surgery. Such measures are important to ensure that lost or stolen dogs have a higher chance of being reunited with their keepers.
The thought of my dog or cat being taken into a veterinary clinic with another family and there being no microchip check on the original microchip database fills me with fear. How families with missing microchipped pets are coping knowing this information I dread to think, having all hope taken away from them, of ever being reunited with their precious pet.
Pet theft is now being taken seriously by the Government who have instigated a Pet Theft Taskforce, working towards #PetTheftReform and ways to stop this devastating crime. I hope the way microchipping is being misused will also be addressed. If there is a legal obligation to microchip our dogs, (cats to be included soon), there should be a reciprocal legal obligation to check microchips.
Dogs are stolen purely for monetary gain, used for breeding, returned for a reward or ransom, many are sold on to unsuspecting families, these are the dogs that could get back home if microchipping was being used the way it was intended.
For more information on the Fern’s Law campaign, please visit VetsGetScanning.co.uk. The campaign started in May 2006 when Sir Bruce Forsyth’s daughters, Debbie, had her dogs stolen. Both dogs being seven years old and neutered were sold on, and it’s only because of Sir Bruce’s fame and huge media attention both dogs were found and reunited. Debbie was told that ‘microchips don’t help to reunite stolen dogs because vets failed to check microchips at pets first visit’ by Jayne Hayes, founder of Doglost.co.uk, the largest UK service helping to reunite lost and stolen pets. Having been a victim of dog theft and experiencing the devastation caused, Bruce and Debbie started Vets Get Scanning and vowed to help others who were not able to tap in to the help they received to get Widget and Gizmo home.
I look forward to your reply with hope that you will be able to attend the debate, supporting me and the Fern’s Law campaign to help reunite stolen, microchipped dogs and cats with their rightful families, by making it a legal obligation to check microchip registration at pets first veterinary treatment.
Debbie MatthewsPet Welfare Campaigner
#FernsLaw petition supporting families searching for their missing microchipped dogs and cats will be debated in Parliament on 28th June 2021: https://vetsgetscanning.co.uk/if-you-have-a-microchipped-dog-or-cat-please-ask-your-mp-to-attend-fernslaw-debate-in-parliament-on-28-june-2021-to-reunite-lost-and-stolen-microchipped-pets/
Email your MP to support #PetTheftReform http://www.stolenandmissingpetsalliance.co.uk/write-to-your-mp/
Pet Theft briefing document:- http://bit.ly/PETTHEFTDEBATE
Please support National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) charity https://www.nawt.org.uk/