back to article UK pol touts canine chip implants

Even if your beloved Westie is spending her declining years curled up by the hearth, Home Secretary Alan Johnson suggests she should be microchipped for the protection of her potential victims, and you should pony up for dog-attack insurance. So goes a proposal that Johnson has floated for consultation in response to what the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of

    an old Billy Connolly routine (I paraphrase, but only slightly):

    " What to do about those dangerous dogs? Something should be done!"

    - Shoot the buggers!

    - No, cut their balls off!

    - Nono, shoot them first, THEN cut their balls off!

    "And what do they do? They make them register at the post office"

  2. Adam Azarchs

    Ok on the chips, but...

    Here in the states, most responsible pet owners get the chips, because collars can slip off and we don't want our escaped pets ending up euthanised in a shelter because they can't figure out who is the guardian for the dog. Insurance, however, is just asking responsible pet owners to subsidize the irresponsible ones.

  3. john loader

    Suggest they ask DVLA

    Cars have to be registered and insured - I believe something like 20% aren't. DVLA uses number

    the number plate isn't false.So with dogs we'll have kerbside chip readers linked to a massive insurance database to ensure that the people most likely not to care a toss about the law, the people causing the problem at present, don't avoid it.

  4. jake Silver badge

    All my critters are chipped.

    Not because they are dangerous (they aren't, unless a cognizant trainer tells them to be in the case of the police dogs & horses, and my two "attack" Skogcats, and the brood mares), but rather because I'd like to get them back if they are lost, stolen, or strayed.

    We carry a US$5,000,000 policy against accidental injury by our critters. As professionals, it only makes sense. It also only costs us ~US$85/month ... but then we're professionals, and we have an excellent track record.

    Idiots with no clue about animals who allow what would otherwise be a happy, healthy pet to strike out at (seemingly[1]) random need to have all animals removed from their possession, permanently, and receive a hefty fine ... with a guarantee of jail time for a second offense. Said removed critters should be evaluated by a professional, the ones that can be rehabilitated should be given a second chance. The ones that probably cannot should be euthanized for their own sake.

    Try to remember, the "Our Gang" ("The Little Rascals") dog "Petey" was a Pit Bull ... until a couple of high profile cases that were mostly tried in the media in the 1990s, the American Pit Bull Terrier was known as a family and kid friendly dog. Strange thing is, they still are kid friendly, when given the chance ... There are no bad dogs. Only bad owners.

    Probably the worst thing that ever happened to canines, especially, is the completely ignorant mass media looking to sensationalize whatever they can sensationalize in order to sell column inches ... Looking to the Press for information on critters is roughly similar to asking the average politician for mechanical info on your car.

    [1] It's never random in the case of so-called "domestic" critters ... the animal was always taught to exhibit the behavior by humans. That is ALWAYS, with one exception ... that one exception (that I'm aware of) is canine parvo survivors.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Two unrelated problems

    Problem 1 - dog biting someone in public. There is a solution for that which has long been applied in Poland and many other countries. In a public place a dog must be on a leash and muzzled regardless of size and breed. You can let it off the leash (still muzzled) only in designated areas like parks. Much cheaper than insurance and easier to implement.

    Problem 2 - dog kept as an offensive weapon bites someone in private or is used as a weapon. Insurance does not help here. These will simply be kept illegally the way they are kept today. There is once again an easy solution - treat dogs as an offensive weapon and hold the owner responsible as per manslaughter or murder laws with an offensive weapon even if the owner is not present. At the moment they are not (despite the fact that law and precedent allows to do this in many cases).

    The problem however in both cases is that the solution contains the concept of responsibility. That as we all know is verbotten by Nu Labour. Whatever it is, responsibility should never be assumed by anyone. Much easier to replace responsibility by something amorphous like insurance where noone can really be blamed for anything. It is yet another history repeating in the same venerable tradition like the H&S Act, Vetting, etc.

  6. ejoftheweb

    Not so draconian

    Compulsory chipping of dogs is a great idea, since most responsible dog owners would do it anyway. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice and is inserted by a vet without anaesthetic; it's no more painful than getting a shot. The chip readers are widely available and will get cheaper; they're small and the police in areas where dogs-as-weapons are common could carry them. Any unchipped dog in public should be destroyed.

    However the number on the chip would need to be linked to a dog-ownership database - currently the data is held by vets, but the police and dog wardens would need appropriate access. This could be done simply and cheaply by specifying a protocol and an API to make use of the existing distributed database or we could give large amounts of money to HP, Accenture or Capita to design and run a single, late, broken consolidated one. Guess which is most likely.

    Compulsory insurance is just another way of giving more money to the financial services sector, so that''s probably more of a runner than compulsory chipping.

  7. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    What is in it for the dog?

    If Alan Johnson wants dogs to buy ID cards, he should talk about what is in it for the dog. For example many barmen have difficulty assessing the age of a dog, and simply ban them all because they might be under age. With an ID chip, a dog will have no trouble being served alcohol - even if pubs do not want to pay for a chip reader. With a chip, dogs will also be able to purchase knives, solvents and cigarettes. They will be able to enter adult clubs (might need to warn them about the new laws on bestiality). Dogs could use the chip as a form of ID when they want to travel around Europe. It would simplify signing on for benefits (most dogs are unemployed, but few of them have any success claiming). Likewise, dogs would have an easier time getting treatment on the NHS.

    Remember we could get all these benefits on the cheap by repurposing the national database and ID card programs for chipping dogs. As a bonus, no-one would ever get bitten again as chips prevent dogs from biting. Personal injury lawyers will advertise chip readers and say: "Go out and get into an argument with a dog. If he stabs you, we will sue the legs of him."

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    The end times begin

    They chip all dogs, but I don't care, I'm not a dog and I don't own one. Then the cats where chipped, cattle are already chipped/tagged. Then they thought it was a good idea to have people chipped, you could whiz through airport security or any other security check point. It was voluntary of course, voluntary of course until the banks insisted on people being chipped to prove who they are, to withdraw money, then the shops demanded that you prove who you are with a chip. Its all voluntary of course. Cash was withdrawn as only criminals used it. You can have the chip implanted in either your right hand or forehead.

    Me? I'm not going to be chipped, I'm leaving City 17 before I get a one way trip to Nova Prospekt. I just can't remember where my family is. Don't drink the water, they put things in the water.

    Got to run now, I can hear the Gordon Brown shirts coming.........

    1. Paul 4

      Same in the UK

      It is the same in the UK, but unfortunatly the few irrisponsible owners cause the problems.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Don't forget the expected reaction

      "That has the tattooed fuckwits quaking in their boots! 'The Post Office! OH NO! I don't even know where my savings book is!'"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Muzzles may seem like a good idea, but the problem with them is that they restrict the dogs ability to cool themselfs, and their ability to run properly (Ever wonderd why fat and fluffy dogs pant more? Thats why). They are totaly un needed, and it would be making all dogs suffer for the irisponsibility of a few. It would also be totaly impractical for working dogs.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC 10:08

        "Muzzles may seem like a good idea, but the problem with them is that they restrict the dogs ability to cool themselfs, and their ability to run properly"

        Incorrect. Ever watched a sighthound race? They wear box muzzles. My guys (Whippets & Greyhounds) actually get excited when I break out the muzzles ... It means we're off for a fun time, usually lure coursing.

        Now, those torture devices that use a tubular loop of fabric to clamp the dog's jaws shut ... Those are another thing entirely. They should be outlawed world-wide. If your vet uses them, find another vet.

        "(Ever wonderd why fat and fluffy dogs pant more? Thats why). "

        The reason fat dogs pant more is because their owners are bad owners (the dog wouldn't be fat if the owner had half a clue). Fluffy's a whole 'nuther issue ... I won't go into my "idiots picking dawgs that don't fit their lifestyle & climate" rant here ...

        "It would also be totaly impractical for working dogs."

        Again, incorrect. For example, some of the dogs I have trained routinely wear a box muzzle when working. These are usually bomb & drug sniffers ... The muzzle is to reassure the general public who are subject to the search.

    4. jake Silver badge


      "currently the data is held by vets"

      Not in the US ... Vets insert the chip, but they do not run the various databases. It is up to the owner to follow up with the paperwork after chipping.

      "Any unchipped dog in public should be destroyed."

      I strongly disagree.

    5. jake Silver badge

      @Flocke Kroes

      You are being anthropomorphic. Stop it. You look silly.

    6. jake Silver badge

      @AC 08:30

      You are being paranoid. Stop it, it makes you look silly. Animals are not people.

      Now, the silly sheeple masquerading as humanity allowing this kind of thing to be applied to them? That's another story, and one that needs to be addressed. I'm not certain how to go about it, but for the most part most humans seem to need to go back to school to learn how to be individuals again.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        @@AC 08:30

        Maybe you are right - why not compulsory insurance and chipping for children? After all they are often responsible for most vandalism and a lot of petty crime. Gets them on the state database nice & early as well.

        Parents can't afford it or won't do it? Fine, take them away and if no one wants them in 7 days put them down...

      2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects 1

        What's the problem?

        It has nothing to do with controlling dangerous dogs. Anyone out with a dog set to go off like a gun and who is into drug dealing and various other social crimes, is not going to have anything like a radio location device near him.

        So the government isn't hoping they will buy the chips.

        Which means that all the dangerous dogs with chips are owned by citizens and all the ones not chipped are owned by crooks. And making themselves obvious by default.

        Either that or the government is being silly once more. Hardly likely is it. I mean to say, who'd join an army run by such fools?

  9. Ian Ferguson

    And how will this help exactly?

    So the gangs of teenage thug wannabes that hang around South London with unregistered pit bulls, who also moonlight in dog fights...

    ...they're going to buy public liability insurance for their dogs, are they?

    Meanwhile, the owners of Fido the aging family labrador are obligated to fork out for insurance in case he injures or kills somebody... by, er, licking them to death?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Odds on getting bitten?

    "people have a fundamental right to feel safe on the streets and in their homes"

    So they're putting more police on the streets? Oh.

  11. Jacqui

    more MP graft

    I wonder how much of a backhander the MP's proposing this got from thier insurance company sponsors? Everyone ni the rescue business knows how much the insurance companies are gouging small businesses such as rescues - mandatory will mean double costs.

    Look what happened to business PL costs after the last mandatory Pl came in - building sites are now plastered with signs etc and building costs have gione up by a factor of 10!

  12. JWS

    Kennel Club = Idiots

    Well clearly the spokesperson for the Kennel Club has no comprehension of how insurance prices work! The more people that insure the cheaper it gets since there is a bigger pot to pay out from, granted the odds of paying out also rise but they are not linked. Plus owners with illegal dogs won't insure their dogs anyway!

  13. Andrew Baines Silver badge

    Fuss about nothing

    There's two months until an election. They're not going to get this through, it's just noise.

    Anyway, most responsible owners microchip their dogs already, with the owner details held by a private company. Updates are free online, £10 otherwise - I'd like to see the govt be that efficient!

    Most household insurance already covers for pets, so no big deal there either.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hah... Chips for terrorist dogs.

    The problem wiht animals is that they are self replicating so any grand scheme to monitor and chip all dogs is doomed to fail. As usual, like the gun ban, the legal, law abiding owners suffer and the criminal scrotes who have the dogs that cause most of the problems walk around with their burberry arses unconcerned with the law.

    Simple fact is we'd be better off breeding the burberry gene out of society and we'd all be better off.

    (I may be a little biased here, having a relative who suffered form an attack by a Bull terrier of some description)

  15. Iggle Piggle

    The thugs that are the target of this law will not comply

    There is no way that some drug dealing thug is going to comply with getting insurance. Simply bring back the license fee then you have a state held pot of money that a victim can claim against. I know the thug is unlikely to buy a licence either but do you really imagine that the thug is going to stick around and give his insurance policy details to his victim anyway?

    A requirement of the license should indeed be chipping, worming and, possibly for animals likely to attack, a DNA register. The penalty for holding an unregistered dog should include removal of the animal and possibly a brief custodial sentence. This at least gives plod something to nick the drug deal for even if they do not have any drugs on them at the time.

    Finally any dog that attacks (and I speak as someone who owned and grew up with dogs quite safely) should automatically be destroyed unless there is some element of provocation involved in the attack. I realise that this is not a compassionate view but frankly anyone that thinks that it is reasonable to allow an animal that rips a child's face off to live is also showing a lack of compassion.

    1. seanj


      I mean, there's no possibility of all the major insurance brokers, upon hearing the word "mandatory", unscrupulously raising their prices knowing that you had no choice but to buy their product, right?

      Pirates, as there's no highwaymen icon...

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      There's an idiot here all right.

      Non-mandatory insurance has to keep premium levels down to where the service provided is well worth spending the money for.

      Mandatory insurance = "we can charge WTF we like for this"

      Why do you think it is that whenever the Insurance industry takes a bath (e.g. 'cos they fucked up the odds of a hurricane in Florida or some arsehat drove a planeload of litiginous septics into a mountain) your car insurance premium in Blighty heads rapidly northwards? It's one of the few things they sell where the only answer we have to a stonking price hike is to grin and bear it.

      1. Paul 4


        I don't agree with the law, but mandatory insurance dose not meen that you have to buy it from one person. Competiton will keep the prices down.

        Major logic fail. Your car insurence price has nothing to do with hurricanes in Florida. That just makes no sense. Or do you think they are all working together, or all owend by the same people? If so get some proof and go to the OFT. Otherwise STFU and stop insulting people.

        1. chr0m4t1c

          Hahahahahaha - good one!

          "I don't agree with the law, but mandatory insurance dose not meen that you have to buy it from one person. Competiton will keep the prices down."

          You do know that the reason why thy ask you about other quotes is to make sure they're all charging about the same amount for the same thing, don't you? It's like a cartel, but using the punters as messengers instead of talking directly to each other.

          Insurance is a guessing game - they guess how much the payouts are going to cost them over the year and try to make sure the premiums cover that and leave them some profit. If they get it wrong then they have a simple solution - charge more next year (as long as they don't go bankrupt).

          Problem is, if you are lucky enough to be the one firm that didn't make any losses last year when everyone else did you have two choices: 1) Leave your premiums where they are, possibly get a big influx of new customers and a load of risk that might completely sink you next year OR 2) Match your premiums to your competitors and order another yacht.

          Which one do you think they go for?

          N.B. This is only applicable to mandatory insurance, not optional insurance.

    3. breakfast

      Being old, the people would have died soon anyway

      You joke about terrorist dogs, but the authorities are clearly concerned about the start of a mainland bombdog campaign.

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    The UK has cradle to grave monitoring of its cattle and sheep

    So what does this say of its dogs and people?

  17. Da Weezil
    Big Brother

    more tax then.....

    Of course the revenue streams from Vat on chipping and insurance premium tax were not a consideration in this were they?

    Damn They must finally be running out of things to tax to finance the banking and military excesses we have seen under this bunch of clowns.

    Chip and insure kids first.. they cause much more trouble and damage top a far larger sector of society... Better yet chip and insure Politicians.. except you wouldn't find a single underwriter in the world to accept the risk of lying politicians.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The home secretary is a moron, trying to grab headlines

    It won't work. dog attacks are a minority and mostly those that shouldn't have a dog anyway. So those that shouldn't have one are not going to chip or licence them, it is pointless. Another tax on the lawful.

    Just like car insurance is ignored, it is one payment that is required but you can get by without.

    My parents ran a boarding kennels for 20 years, and were dog breeders of various breeds including dobermans, my favourite and most loving pet was a doberman. Rottweilers were cute and the one pitbull we had in regularly was as soft as cheese, a rough collie picked a fight with it once and the piutbull didn't fight back it was that soft. Because it was owned by a responsible owner, trained and bred to be a house pet, not a psycho.

    Not once in 20 years did I see a nasty dog you would expect to be nasty. The only thing to seriously hurt me or staff was the jack russel breed, which is far more nasty and dangerous because it is afterall designed and bred to fight badgers in badger holes.

    Although my doberman attacked one woman. We were closed. She opened a gate she should not have, ignored the growling dog, ignored the signs, ignored the closed signs on the second door, walked across a 20 metre yard, ignored the growling, barking and nasty looking doberman and tried to open the front door to the house. The dog bit her leg. She complained to the police to have it put down, luckily the police pointed out the five or six errors and the fact she was an idiot.

    The owners are why dogs turn nasty, not the dog. Neuter them, castrate them. The dog adopts the mental state of it's owner / pack leader. It isn't rocket science.

    But MP's want headline winners and the daily mail readers are all rich enough to do it.

  19. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Another stupid suggestion

    Typically the see the 'problem' as solved with a database and insurance. Why will this help? Those who are irresponsible will ignore it (just like fines for not clearing up after your dog) and those who suffer are the non-problem ones and, much more so, the large number of dog who will be abandoned if they become too expensive to keep.

    In itself a sad reflection of human nature, but aggravated by morons pushing policies like this.

    If someone is irresponsible, as they might be with a knife, then charge them with a crime. Why the need for insurance? Why the need for yet another compulsory database?

    As already pointed out, it would no doubt end up a hugely over-priced and flake sinecure to one of the governments favourite IT balls-up merchants ,and another opportunity for ambulance-chasing lawyers.

    1. Iggle Piggle

      I agree but

      while the insurance idea is nuts because it will be ignored by the people who actually own dangerous dogs illegally. Actually I am making an assumption that training a dog to attack is illegal. If it is not then it should be.

      The compulsory database for dogs makes a great deal of sense. As a responsible dog owner we lost our dog once or twice. He was no trouble and spent a brief time behind bars at the local police station until we could be located to come and collect him. However if his tag had broken off or we had simply abandoned him then it would have made it far easier to track him back. With the same database I could have been contacted if an outbreak of canine diseases occurred in the area. The authorities could enforce compulsory worming programmes and possibly these could be used to ensure the welfare of the animal.

      As to the idea that people abandon an animal on the grounds of cost and this would be an extra cost, well perhaps you are right. The trouble is that pet ownership is not cheap. A good pet owner will have vets bills, food, possibly bedding and various pet accessories. As I said, insurance makes no sense but licensing does. That could go towards a fund for victims, local provisions for dog owners in parks such as dog toilets and perhaps someone with the unenviable clean up job.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Iggle Piggle

        "Actually I am making an assumption that training a dog to attack is illegal. If it is not then it should be."

        Incorrect assumption. I train dogs for police departments, and search/rescue.

        I personally own three SchH3 GSDs. They will attack if I tell them to attack, no questions asked. All three of them are also certified therapy dogs; the veterans in the Yountville Veterans Home love them to pieces, and they return the favo(u)r. Also no questions asked.

        It's all in the owner understanding canine psychology, and communicating to the dog(s) which behavio(u)r is appropriate in any given situation.

        If the owner is an idiot, the dog will be an idiot. If the owner has a clue, the dog will be a canine good citizen. Breed and/or breeding has little to do with basic canine good manors.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @Jake from AC 0830

    Its not paranoia, it is humour, banter, satire. Which the last two paragraphs of my post made clear.

  21. STurtle

    Statistical Significance?

    In how many dog attacks was the ownership of the dog unclear in the last decade?

    Apparently this must be a very happy country if politicians cannot find things with higher priority to deal with:

    - How many people died by unregistered weapons?

    - How many people died in accidents on insecure and ill-maintained roads?

    - How many people died in insufficiently funded/maintained hospitals?

    - How many people became brain dead from reading about politicians?

    I would have thought that answering the question "How many people are affected how severely and how much could it cost per person to fix it?" should always be done first.

  22. The Commenter formally known as Matt


    "Britain is a nation of animal lovers, but people have a fundamental right to feel safe on the streets and in their homes,"

    How is having doggies chipped and insured going to do this?

    I feel safe in my home, but then I don't let dogs in off the street.

    The only time I don't feel safe around dogs on the street is when they are unsupervised (yes our street has some dog owner who can't be bothered to walk them so just lets them walk themselves) and hence unmuzzled and not on a lead.

    A chip and insurance would not make me feel safer in this case.

  23. Anonymous John

    Simple answer.

    If they've got wide shoulders, short legs, and aggressive temperaments, confiscate their dogs.

    1. jake Silver badge

      @Anonymous John


      What about the dog most likely to bite Vets and Vet-techs in the United States? That would be the Cocker Spaniel ... Followed closely by Jack Russels of various descriptions. Followed closely by almost every Toy/Companion breed out there.

      The key isn't the breed's conformation, not by any stretch. Rather, it's the fucking stupid owner who has absolutely zero clue how to train their dog, and to keep it happy and feeling "safe" within their pack environment.

  24. Graham Bartlett

    Problem with this

    Great, the dog has an ID chip and insurance. Now how do I trace that dog, its ID and the relevant insurance company from the bite on my leg?

    The only way mandatory chipping could possibly help is if the dog bites someone *AND* it's been left to run around on its own with no owner in sight *AND* the police (or the bitee) manages to catch it *AND* the owner hasn't put a collar on it with the owner's name and address (which is already required by law).

    If the dog bites me and runs off, which is by far the most likely case, I've no way of doing anything about it. "What did the dog look like, sir? A white Jack Russell? Well that narrows it down to 500 within a 20-minute drive." If it was something unusual like an Akita then maybe it'd be easier to trace, but I doubt they feature much in the statistics.

  25. Allan 1


    No, more like "Aha, so these people HAVE to buy our product now? Great" Time to bump up the cost, and generate more profit."

    Making something mandatory, usually encourages the companies selling it, to sell it for even more.

    In my experience anyway.

  26. markfiend

    Got to agree with most of the comments

    Responsible dog owners, for the most part, already chip their animals. Irresponsible owners (and with "aggressive dogs" it's almost always the owner that's at fault, not the dog) will ignore any legal requirement. Just like they do with car insurance.

    This government really isn't very good at joined-up thinking is it?

  27. David Pollard

    Tag the cats too - toxoplasmosis

    It might provide more protection to humans if cats were to be tagged and at the same time vaccinated against toxoplasmosis. Besides the possible effects on health and especially pregnancy, it appears to make those who become infected more accident-prone.

    "The subjects with latent toxoplasmosis have significantly increased risk of traffic accidents than the non-infected subjects. Because of its high prevalence and therefore extremely high attributable mortality, latent toxoplasmosis, the mildest form of T. gondii infection, might in fact represent a serious and highly underestimated economic and public health problem."

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Let's just change some words

    Replace "dog" with "teenager" and let's see how well that'd go down. The only difference is that there are many, many more teenager attacks than dog attacks.

    Of course, in the World of the Daily Mail (TM) this is probably a good thing - after all, all those dangerous dogs will attack all the sex offenders hiding behind bushes at the end of every street.

  29. neverSteady

    My dog will never be chipped.

    I don't care how hard you try to demonise all canines, I ain't paying you any money.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As usual

    They're proposing a system that penalises the law abiding. Most firearms are illegal and those that aren't must be licensed. Most people abide by the law and don't own illegal firearms and license any legal ones. But there are loads of criminals with illegal or unlicensed firearms. Likewise one of the targets of this legislation is the type of person who uses a dog to intimidate others or as a weapon, but how many of the are going to get their dog chipped or buy the compulsory insurance? Can somebody point out to the government that criminals don't abide by the law.

    As usual we have a problem that has been exagerated by the media (surprise!) and the goverment know they must be seen to be doing something, so they've come up with a worthless solution. They haven't thought it through they've just banged something together that will satisfy the average Daily Fail reader.

    Would it be cynical of me to wonder if the chipping, the registration and the insurance won't all generate a little extra cash for the treasury?

    The dangerous dogs act was shit to start with. "Dangerously out of control in a public place." WTF does that mean? Apparently "dangerous" can be taken to mean behaviour likely to inspire fear, but that isn't what dangerous means at all. And what level of fear? Are we talking the sort of behavious likely to inspire fear in somebody who's scared of dogs anyway. One of our neighbours has a kid who all but shits herself at the sight of a dog, no matter what it's doing. Does that mean that dog is "dangerously out of control"? Of course it doesn't. And you can't define dangerous in terms of canine behaviour differently from the way you define it in terms of driving. So does "dangerous driving" mean driving liable to isnpire fear? Any new legislation should be to sort out the problems with the existing act, not simply add a whole load of extra problems on top.

  31. Graham Bartlett


    As the owner of two microchipped dogs, I have to say that's a bit short-sighted.

    Chipping animals is generally a very good idea. If the dog runs off, the collar should help the police/RSPCA get it back to you, although collars do break so that's not guaranteed. But for pedigree animals, the bigger deal is theft. Mostly dogs aren't stolen by someone who wants them, they're stolen for the resale value. And if someone buys a stolen pedigree pooch in good faith, the chances are pretty good they'll be getting it chipped, at which point the vet doing the chipping will find the first chip. Or if they're stolen for puppy-farming or dog-fighting, if the people responsible are raided by the RSPCA then they'll be able to trace your dog. And even if your dog ends up dead and is buried out back of some guy's farm, the chip is evidence that it was your dog.

    Of course, it does need the RSPCA and vets to check for chips. Unfortunately there are plenty of cases where they can't be arsed, and some poor owner has to face up to their dog probably being dead in a ditch somewhere, when in fact the RSPCA down the road have found it and rehomed it. Which is not very clever really.

    My objection is just to this idea that chipping dogs will help control dangerous animals, when clearly it's a complete fantasy. Dog licenses, fair enough - I've no real objection to that, bcos at least then dogs can be taken off chavs if they've not got a license (which I expect most wouldn't). But chipping only helps responsible owners get their dogs back if they're lost/stolen - it doesn't do anything to help trace dangerous dogs.

  32. ITDirector

    Missing the obvious headline?

    War On Terrier

    Actually it's the small ones that are out of control in our neck of the woods. Vicious little toy dogs uncontrolled by female owners that frighten my staffie (chipped, insured natch).

  33. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    1200% in 4 years?

    Either there has been a plague of killer devil dogs I have somehow missed.

    Or, a check-box appeared on an hospital A&E admission form in 2004 for dog bite?

    Personal winge - there has never been a motorbike accident due to skidding on spilled diesel, because the Police only have a box on the form for skidding on ice/snow. And since there is no evidence that a bike has ever skidded on diesel there is no need to change the form.

  34. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Home Office Minister talks Rot

    And mentions various other breeds in passing.

    Remarkably like the CSA.

    Sold as the way to stamp out the Burberry capped serial breeders it in fact only hit people who were in steady employment and working through payment arrangements.

  35. DaveB

    Dog ID cards

    Yes totally agree that all dogs should have an id chip.

    But as the owner of three flatcoats who once greeted a "burglar" that climbed in through a downstairs window with their favourite soft toys, to play with, I am not happy with 3rd party Insurance, just see it as a "Labour Dog Tax".

    Also as one of our dogs is a registered "Pets as Therapy" dog, who spends her time visiting old people's homes, one wonders what her liability is.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    see it

    See it for what it is

    a: headline grabber

    b: stealth tax

    Only responsible people will have a dog tagged and taxed, irresponsible people will not. End result, no change in problems with dangerous dogs, increase in money stolen from your pocket.

  37. JohnG

    Microchip and cheap license but not insurance

    A sensible course might be to require all dogs to be microchipped by a local vet. A simple and cheap license should then link the microchip with an owner and their address. The police or RSPCA should seize any dog without a microchip or a current license and then give the owners a couple of weeks to resolve any discrepancy. It would probably be a good idea to ban those convicted of crimes like drug dealing from dog ownership.

    The insurance idea is daft. As with cars, those with no regard for the law will simply not bother to insure their dog(s).

  38. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    why am I reminded of the film "Snatch"

    "You like dags?"

    Only I can think of quite a few people who won't be signing up to this.

  39. Mike Cresswell

    Dog "bites" or "fights"? Big Difference!!

    I think Rik and others should have read the original article more carefully (follow the "Johnson was quoted" link).

    I just did and noticed it says

    "The RSPCA says the number of complaints about dog fights has risen 12-fold between 2004 and 2008."

    Notice the word is "fights" not "bites".

    Now to me, a dog fight is usually a fight between two dogs and doesn't necessarily involve any harm to a person. Rik has translated this into "dog attacks" which may well be what Alan Johnson was hoping for. So sounds suspiciously like a politician using skewed data to push his own agenda...Naaa...they never do that do they?

    Regardless of the reasons, it won't produce the result which any sane person would hope for (reduction in dog related aggression, attacks, injuries etc) because the people who are the cause of the problem simply won't comply. It is just yet another way for the government to extract extra revenue from the law abiding while those who ignore the law get away with it as usual.

  40. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    I'm a cyclist.

    Dogs often go after cyclists. I had two encounters on the same trip the other night. Fortunately no injury.

    I suppose they may be thinking particularly of criminals' weapon dogs and making possession of such a dog an offence without the limitations of the Dangerous Dogs Act. Or perhaps it's about hunting dog packs, which regularly attack people, animals and property, but theoretically not foxes any more, unless they happen to find one while they're out and about. And anyway, very expensive to insure.

    Don't they get a bent vet to cut the chip out of a stolen dog?

    Compulsory insurance may have problems as described, but I'd expect insurers to offer cover for a lower premium if the dog is properly trained or is kept away from the general public.

    I'd make the compulsory implant larger and with a stun as well as a "don't do that" function and let's say Bluetooth. Chihuahua would not require a huge device for that, German Shepherds something stronger. There are some complications so I'll let our legislators hammer out the details.

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