MP backs compulsory dog microchips

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Edinburgh East Labour MP Sheila Gilmore has given her backing to a campaign to stop attacks on guide dogs through compulsory microchipping.

New figures show attacks on guide dogs are at an all-time high, running at an average of eight a month.

The UK Government is currently consulting on compulsory microchipping but has said its preferred option is to microchip puppies only.

The charity Guide Dogs says under such a plan it would take 10 to 15 years before all dogs were microchipped. And it argues for compulsory microchipping of all dogs within two years.

Ms Gilmore said: “Action needs to be taken to protect guide dogs and their owners from irresponsible dog owners. Microchipping is one step that would make a real difference.”

David Cowdrey, Guide Dogs’ campaigns manager, said: “An attack on any dog is frightening, but for a guide dog owner it is much worse. The trauma caused by these unprovoked attacks could leave a blind or partially sighted person a prisoner in their own home.”

The charity says compulsory microchipping is a vital first step towards reducing the number of attacks, but believes the Government should go further. Mr Cowdrey said: “Ultimately we want the law changed so an attack on an assistance dog is treated as seriously as an attack on a person.”