Joining forces with the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance (Sampa) in 2014, the Pet Theft Reform is calling for a single, centralised microchip database to created, accessible by police, vets, authorities and rescues to provide quick unifications and to support criminal investigations. We are also advocating for Fern’s Law and Tuk’s Law to be incorporated into the new pet theft act, making it a compulsory requirement for vets to scan for microchips.
Fern’s law seeks to make microchip scanning compulsory upon first presentation at a vet surgery and/or during a pet’s annual check-up. While microchipping has been compulsory for dogs since 2016, it is not currently a legal requirement for vets, local authorities or highways agencies to scan a dog or cat in any circumstances.
April 2013, Fern, a cocker-springer spaniel, was stolen from her home and wasn’t reunited with her family until 2019. During the six years away from her loving owners, Fern was used for breeding resulting in poor health. Fern was taken to the vet during that time but, as scanning is not compulsory, the truth of her situation was never identified. It wasn’t until Fern was abandoned and a kind soul took her to another vet that she was finally reunited with her family.
Tuk’s law calls to make it a legal requirement that no healthy animal is put to sleep by a vet without first being scanned for a microchip to confirm that the person requesting the euthanasia has the authority to do so and that any dual registration contact details (animal rescue and owner) on the chip are assessed and honoured.
In December 2017, Tuk, a healthy and microchipped 16-month-old rescue, was euthanised. He was not scanned prior to euthanasia and his rescue back-up on his microchip was not contacted or notified of his death. Despite the rescue back-up details and despite the fact the person presenting Tuk for euthanasia was not the registered owner, the poor dog was tragically put to sleep simply because the new owners either don’t like him or like his behaviour. Instances of this have been reported as young as six months old.
It is also reported that 98% of vets have at some point been presented with a healthy pet with a request for euthanasia simply because the owners are unhappy with behaviour.
Tuk’s law would compel vets to scan healthy pets for microchip and contact the owners and any back-up rescues to prevent harrowing cases like Tuk’s from ever happening again.