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Call for MSPs to rethink microchipping decision

THE Scottish Government has been urged to rethink its plans for dealing with dangerous dogs after it rejected moves to have all of the animals compulsorily microchipped.

UK ministers had announced the introduction of microchipping earlier this month in a measure aimed at making it easier to trace owners of dangerous dogs to ensure they are held accountable for their animal's behaviour.

But the Scottish Government confirmed it was opposed to the compulsory microchipping and would not introduce it north of the Border.

The decision has surprised the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which has been campaigning for compulsory microchipping across Britain and is to put pressure on the Scottish Government to have a rethink.

North East MSP Nanette Milne, who is the Scottish Conservatives spokesman on health and community care, has said she will be seeking discussions with Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.

She said if ministers did not act she would consider bringing forward a Private Members' Bill to the Scottish Parliament to seek cross-party support for compulsory micro- chipping.

The calls for action came amid concern from animal charities about dangerous dogs being used as weapons and status symbols.

The CWU estimates up to 5000 postal workers and around 400 telecom engineers are attacked by dogs each year – these range from minor injuries to life-threatening incidents. It is estimated 70% of attacks are on private property.

Under the measures unveiled by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, it would become compulsory for all dogs in England to be microchipped from 2016.

He said it would help protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible dog ownership.

But the Scottish Government has said it has seen no evidence to show that compulsory microchipping would effectively tackle welfare issues.

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