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ITV star Paul O’Grady supports compulsory microchipping as new law comes into force

On the day the new microchipping law comes into force, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Ambassador Paul O’Grady is urging pet owners to microchip their dogs, after new Battersea research reveals only one in five lost dogs have an up to date chip, making many stray dogs’ chances of being reunited with their owners less likely.

Worrying figures from Local Authorities showed in Battersea’s new report Microchipping Where it Matters Most, the vast majority of stray dogs (80%) either don’t have microchips, or the chips are rendered useless because of out of date contact details.

The world-renowned animal charity collected data from 50 UK Local Authorities which took in 1,154 stray dogs in February 2016, which showed only 45% of those strays had a microchip and the owner’s contact details were out of date in more than half of these.

Paul O’Grady, who presents ITV’s award-winning Battersea series Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, said: “The thought of one of my dogs being lost is heart-breaking. I’ve seen first-hand the devastated faces of owners who’ve come to Battersea, praying their dog may have found its way to one of their three centres. And I’ve also seen the stray dogs that are afraid and confused, wondering why they’re sat in a kennel, and not at home in their beds when their owners can’t find them.

“Microchipping is the simplest and fastest way to ensure you can be reunited with your pet if you become separated. A microchip can be read by any vet, rescue centre or Local Authority in the UK, and you can be reunited with your dog within hours.

“You just need to make an appointment and Battersea will chip your dog for free at its centres in London, Brands Hatch and Old Windsor. By law, you must have your dog microchipped by 6 April. So get your dog chipped and save yourself and your dog any heartache.”

Battersea cares for over 8,000 animals every year across its three sites in London, Berkshire and Kent and the charity hopes the new microchipping law will lead to many more reunites between dogs and their owners. Battersea, and other animal welfare charities such as Dogs Trust and Blue Cross, are offering the free dog microchipping service at their centres.

Peter Laurie, Battersea’s Director of Operations, said: “We thank Paul O’Grady for his tremendous support in spreading the word about the importance of microchipping. Such a small chip can make a huge difference to dog’s life. The new law is a milestone in animal welfare legislation, and is warmly welcomed by Battersea as it will make tracing dog owners much easier, enabling more strays to be reunited with their worried owners more quickly, and irresponsible owners and breeders can be prosecuted more easily.”

Lost dogs can be reunited with their owners in just a couple of hours after being brought to a rescue centre like Battersea, their local vet or Local Authority, if they have a microchip. The chip is as small as a grain of rice and can instantly provide the contact details of the owner. Last year, Battersea reunited 542 lost pets with their owners.

If you have lost or found a dog or cat, please visit Battersea’s website www.battersea.org.uk to file a report or call the charity’s Lost Dogs & Cats Line as soon as possible on 0207 627 9245 - lines are open between 8am and 6pm seven days a week.

For more information on Battersea and responsible dog ownership, please visit www.battersea.org.uk/chipandtagevents

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