Update on Fern’s Law petition debate in Parliament on 28th June 2021 #FernsLaw #MakeChipsCount #PetTheftReform

Fern’s Law petition asks the Government to make it compulsory for VETERINARIANS to check microchip registration at pets first veterinary treatment to reunite sold on stolen dogs and cats. RESCUES to cross check microchip registration on relinquished or seized dogs and cats. AUTHORITIES to check microchip registration on pets they deal with, whether abandoned, lost or deceased:

If just one organisation is not committed to scan and check microchip registration the whole system fails and is not fit for purpose. Legislation is needed to replace half hearted ‘strengthened, best practice recommendations’

George Eustice, Defra, when talking about compulsory dog microchipping said ‘responsible pet owners want to know their pet is safe, microchipping will reunite people with their lost or stolen pets’ he goes onto say ‘We are a nation of dog lovers and microchipping is crucial for both good dog welfare and to provide owners with peace of mind’

How can this be when it’s left optional to scan and check microchip registration on the original database? 

In May 2021, Defra produced their Action Plan for animal welfare, which includes a section on pet theft. They add that it will be compulsory to microchip cats, which will ensure you are quickly reunited with your lost or stolen cat.

Stolen Betty was found via her microchip after being dumped as a stray. She has been used for breeding and had a cesarian scar – which means she had attended a vet clinic at some point. 

Missing Sophie was rehomed by DogsTrust and had her microchip registration changed to another family.  No one thought to check her microchip registration when she was surrendered to the rescue centre and the database failed to contact Eileen Jones, who had a missing alert on Sophie’s microchip registration.  

Stolen Millie was seized by RSPCA after police arrested the man she was with. No one thought to check her microchip registration and she was put to sleep, despite having a stolen alert on her microchip registration. 

Defra and BVA are also promoting their Animal (Sentience) Bill – animals have feelings, are they taking into account how stolen dogs are coping after being snatched from their loving family homes? 

With thanks to the PetTheftReform campaign and the Pet Theft Taskforce we are seeing more action from the Police and we’ve seen a few stolen dogs reunited over the last few months but not all have coped with their traumatic experiences. 

We therefore ask the question: Could sold on stolen dogs, who are taken into a vets, be showing signs of post-traumatic stress but this is not being picked up because microchips registration is not being checked at first veterinary treatment?

Stolen Welly, one of two black labradors, reunited after three days needed an operation to remove fluid from around his heart and abdomen, the vets were of the opinion that this was caused by the traumatic experience he suffered. 

Stolen Tweed, was only missing for one week before being reunited but she died in her owners arms not long afterwards.  The stress and trauma of what happened to her was too much for her to bear. 

Stolen Rikki is getting help from a dog psychologist for post-traumatic stress four months after being stolen, he is beginning to show signs of improvement.

Theft by finding is a big problem for missing dog and cat owners. When someone finds a dog and fails to report them to the local animal warden, which is a legal obligation, and fail to get the dogs microchip registration checked.

The Police only give Crime Reference Number when there is proof of theft. 

Doglost, the UKs largest lost and found service to help reunite pets has over 20,000 missing dogs/cats, not all will be microchipped and some will have died because of old age, so where are the rest? 

There are veterinarians who understand the microchip problems, usually when they have a stolen pet or friends that have suffered from this evil crime. 

Annica Hardman, a vet nurse, had her dog Peppa stolen and she has appealed to her profession to check microchips at first presentation.

Jody Barry, a vet nurse, appealed to her fellow professionals to check microchip registration at first vet visit after her friends four dogs were stolen.

BVA say they don’t want checking microchips to be compulsory because they don’t want to stop people taking pets in for treatment but they do say ‘it’s a best practice recommendation to check microchips at first treatment?’ What’s the difference from  the animal welfare aspect? 

RCVS & BVA have been supporting reporting dogs with cropped ears, won’t this have the same animal welfare response? Will people with cropped eared dogs not go to the vets for treatment now?

BVA are concerned about revealing addresses of domestic abuse victims, when General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is clearly in place. 

No concern for Dog Theft victims from BVA or RCVS, which affects the whole family, especially children. The elderly suffer greatly, their dog can be their only companion and the reason they get up everyday.

It’s incomprehensible that BVA and RCVS have decided that the veterinary profession, who are ideally placed and know the bond between pets and families and yet they choose not to help reunite sold on stolen pets!

I was invited to appear on RIP-OFF Britain, January 2020, when they were investigating the flaws in the microchipping system which was letting down the public at large. Daniela Dos Santos was the BVA president at the time. We were talking about the fact we both agreed that there needed to be a centralised database for quick and easy access for veterinarians, rescues and authorities to check microchip registration. I asked if the microchip system was streamlined would the veterinary profession check microchip registration at first visit? The answer was No!

BVA and RCVS have a announced that a new code of Practice will ensure that healthy dogs will be scanned and checked for rescue backup supporting the Tuk’s Law campaign, but what does this mean for lost and stolen pets?

This is excellent news for healthy dogs prior to euthanasia but microchips were made to be used as a permanent way to identify missing and stolen pets with instant traceability. Microchips can do so much more!

What are the flaws with the pet microchipping system?

There are two major flaws with the current compulsory microchipping system: optional scanning, and the lack of a centralised database.

Although it is compulsory to microchip dogs, veterinary professionals, animal rescues and local authorities are not required to scan the pets they come into contact with.

All the approved microchip databases advertise their chips on the premise that the scanning of their chip will lead to a reunion of lost or stolen dogs.

Government claim pet owners will be reunited quickly with their lost and stolen microchipped pets.

This gives an entirely false hope and is totally unachievable while scanning is arbitrary at veterinary practices.

Compulsory cat microchipping is great in theory — but the system is flawed: https://theconversation.com/compulsory-cat-microchipping-is-great-in-theory-but-the-system-is-flawed-130084

MPs supporting the MICROCHIPPING debate in Parliament on 28th June 2021.

Watch the debate: https://youtu.be/FlDYqU6y-m8

Jonathan Gullis MP
Jim Shannon MP
Iain Duncan Smith MP
Angela Jenkyns MP
Dr Luke Evans MP
Jane Stevenson MP
James Daly MP
Richard Holden MP
Dr Lisa Cameron MP
Luke Pollard MP

Defra Minister Victoria Prentis MP summed up the proceedings:

Victoria Prentis MP (Defra)

Police, crime, sentencing and courts Bill

We would like to take this opportunity to thank MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith for his three tabled amendments: https://www.iainduncansmith.org.uk/news/police-crime-sentencing-and-courts-bill-amendments-regarding-issue-pet-theft

Thank you to the MPs who have supported the amendments:

Offence of buying a pet for cash
Offence of pet theft
Offence of failing to scan a microchip

Confirmation that Pet Theft will be included in the Police Bill.

Update on the three amendments tabled by Iain Duncan Smith from the Lord Chancellor in the Police, Crime, Sentencing Court Bill debate on Monday, 5th June 2021:

“As my Rt Hon Friend knows we have discussed the pressing issue of pet theft on a number of occasions. As a pet owner myself I understand the depth of feeling amongst many across the United Kingdom and the very worrying rise in often violent, pet crime, particularly during the pandemic. I have looked carefully at New Clauses, 14, 15 and 16 which seek to resolve this issue by banning cash sales, making it compulsory for vets to scan for microchips and making pet theft a specific offence. After the last time we spoke, I set up the government pet theft taskforce and ministers have been looking carefully at how to resolve this worrying problem. That task force is completing its mission soon and we will be ready to start drawing up measures to resolve the issue.

To that end, I say in the strongest terms that we will act to drive out this pernicious crime.

My Rt Hon Friend’s New Clauses address some of these key issues at the heart of where we will take action and I give him and others with him this assurance, that it is our fixed intention to make necessary changes to this Bill in the Lords, before it returns to the Commons once we have finalised the detail of exactly what is needed, using a range of powers including primary legislation. The effect of these changes will, I believe help achieve what he is seeking to do today.”

#PetTheftReform #FernsLaw #MakeChipsCount

MPs who supported one or more of the amendments tabled by Iain Duncan Smith and sponsored by Tom Hunt MP:
Stephen McPartland
Andrew Rossindell
Mr Andrew Mitchell
Siobhan Baillie
Tracey Crouch
Jane Stevenson
Craig Tracey
Mohammad Yasmin
Mr Phillip Hollobone
Sir John Hayes
Matt Vickers
Julian Knight
Henry Smith
John McDonnell
Jason McCartney
Steve Brine
Tim Loughton
Andrew Selous
Greg Smith
Andrew Gwynne
Sir Roger Gale
Munira Wilson

Tabled amendments: https://www.iainduncansmith.org.uk/news/police-crime-sentencing-and-courts-bill-amendments-regarding-issue-pet-theft

Please thank your MP if their name is on the list.