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How microchips are reuniting pets and owners

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The lives of more than 8,000 lost dogs have been saved by reuniting them with their owners according to the Dogs Trust’s annual Stray Dog Survey.

The number of happy endings to sad stories of lost and stray dogs is rising with one thousand more reunifications than last year says the charity.

The Dogs Trust's annual report showed that 111,986 stray and abandoned dogs were picked up by local authorities across the UK in the last 12 months. Whilst representing a 6% decrease on the previous year the figure still equates to a staggering 307 stray dogs found each day.

And sadly, despite efforts to promote responsible dog ownership through micro chipping, education and neutering, the survey also recorded 9,000 dogs being put to sleep during the same period.

The number of dogs reunited with their owners accounted for 48% of the stray population with the remaining dogs being transferred to welfare organisations for rehoming (25%), rehomed through local authorities (9%) or put to sleep (8%).

The fact that more dogs are being reunited with their owners because of microchips is a huge step forward

Dogs Trust CEO, Clarissa Baldwin OBE, says: “Whilst it is encouraging to see that the number of stray dogs has fallen, with nearly 112,000 dogs still being collected by local authorities and nearly 9,000 of these put to sleep  - there is clearly still a problem.

“We work very closely with local authorities who should be commended on their efforts to encourage responsible dog ownership, which is reflected in the reduction in strays. They do not want to put dogs to sleep but they are struggling to cope with such huge numbers of dogs in a difficult economic climate.

“Simple steps such as microchipping can help prevent accidental strays. The fact that more dogs are being reunited with their owners because of microchips is a huge step forward.”

“We are delighted with the Government’s commitment to introduce compulsory microchipping by 2016 however we hope this alarming number of stray dogs will remind dog owners to ensure that their dog is microchipped and that their contact details are kept up to date to improve the chances of their dogs being returned to them should they stray”.

Dogs Trust never destroys a healthy dog and cares for 16,000 dogs a year at its 18 Dogs Trust Rehoming Centres in the UK and one in Dublin.  A significant majority of these come from Local Authorities after being found straying in their local area. The charity is urging the dog-loving public to give these previously unwanted dogs a second chance of a new home.

Benefits of microchipping

In a recent case, two dogs were temporarily housed at Dogs Trust’s Harefield centre after the rehoming centre manager was contacted by the local transport police to say they had found two dogs walking across the M25. Fortunately both dogs were microchipped and the owners were contacted quickly and reunited with their dogs in a matter of hours.

Stray dogs in UK

• The North of England has seen a rise in stray dogs with the highest increase in strays recorded in Yorkshire (43%)
• The South of England saw a reduction in stray dogs, down 29% in East Anglia
• Scotland saw a 22% reduction in strays
• Northern Ireland saw a reduction of 37% in stray dogs
• Wales also saw a reduction of 14% in the number of stray dogs reported

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Published: 05:22, 20 September 2013 | Updated: 06:02, 20 September 2013