A new law to offer greater safeguards to pet owners by ensuring animals are scanned for microchips has cleared its first Commons hurdle.
Tory MP James Daly (Bury North) wants it to be a legal requirement for vets to scan dogs for microchips to establish their owners are who they say they are when a healthy animal is brought in to be put to sleep.
He also has called for local authorities to be required to scan cats killed by the roadside in an attempt to reunite owners with their deceased pet.
Mr Daly said his Pets (Microchips) Bill would build upon a legal requirement introduced in 2016 for all dogs to be microchipped.
He told the Commons his Bill aims to ensure vets are legally required to scan for owner and rescue back-up contact details on microchips when any healthy or treatable dog is brought into a veterinary surgery to be euthanised.
He added: “On Government-endorsed microchip databases, a prefix will be added to microchips identifying dual-registration of rescue animals.
“If an unsubstantiated reason for euthanasia is made, the vet will be expected to seek corroborating evidence.
“Vets will be expected to seek alternative options to euthanasia in situations where there are no life-threatening or emergency situations causing the dog’s suffering.
“By implementing this change in legislation, the lives of hundreds of dogs will be saved every year across Britain.”
Mr Daly’s Bill also aims to help cat-owners be reunited with the remains of their pet if their animal is found deceased.
He told MPs: “There would be a legal requirement for local authorities to scan the microchip of a deceased cat and then to make all reasonable efforts to contact the owner of the deceased pet to confirm what has happened to their animal and from where they can collect the cat if they so choose.”
He also suggested a database could be set up of recovered cats where they do not have a microchip – detailing particulars such as colourings, collars or markings – to help reunite owners and animals.
The Bill was introduced without a vote, with a second reading scheduled for January 29 2021.
It has little chance of making further progress in its current form without Government backing.