ELC to consider microchip plan

02/04/2013,  TSPL, Scotsman, Evening News,Dogs Trust Micro chipping. close up of a microchip in a key fob pictured here to illustrate Micro Chipping dogs at the Dogs Trust, West Calder.   Picture Ian Rutherford
02/04/2013, TSPL, Scotsman, Evening News,Dogs Trust Micro chipping. close up of a microchip in a key fob pictured here to illustrate Micro Chipping dogs at the Dogs Trust, West Calder. Picture Ian Rutherford

Every dog in East Lothian could be microchipped as part of a crackdown on dog fouling.

The plan to implant each dog in the region with the £35 chip free of charge would make East Lothian the first Scottish local authority to implement a blanket policy on microchipping.

Incentives such as free dog health checks could be offered in partnership with animal charity PDSA in an attempt to tempt owners to enrol their dogs in the voluntary scheme.

Compulsory microchipping, such as that carried out in Northern Ireland since January 2013, would require the passing of national legislation. Scottish ministers recently consulted on the matter and will issue a response in the coming months.

However, council chiefs and dog wardens believe that even a voluntary scheme could result in a dramatic reduction in the number of fines issued for dog fouling as owners become more easily identifiable.

East Lothian amenity officer Carl Howman also explained that it would mean stray dogs could be returned to owners with a warning.

He added: “If they stray a second time they will be taken to the cat and dog home, and the owners will have to pay to get them back.”

Environment convener Norman Hampshire said: “The matter of microchipping dogs was suggested as a way to tackle dog fouling. However, without national legislation the council does not have the power to enforce it, therefore, such a scheme could only be voluntary. It’s a matter we hope to discuss further in ­future.”

According to the PDSA Scotland’s Animal Wellbeing report 49 per cent of pets are microchipped.