Pet Microchip Laws Review

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Changes Afoot To Pet Laws?

Gizmo’s Law – Tuk’s Law – Updates

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About Microchipping

Microchipping had been practised by vets according to The Veterinary Nurse @TheVetNurseJnl, since 1989 being recognised as an international identification process for pets.

Horses born after 2009 were obliged to be microchipped by a suitable qualified person when travelling under the PETS travel scheme and certain exotic pets under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Major legislation was introduced during 2016 where all dogs had to be microchipped including puppies by the week of 8 weeks old in the UK.

More than a million rabbits, as well as cats, and other small pets, have also been microchipped by owners voluntarily since 2016.

The owners details are kept by a number of government recognised private agencies, primarily to try and help reduce the horrendous increase in pet theft experienced in the UK.

Whilst the 2016 Act dealt with microchipping and legal registration from an early age of dogs, it gave little legal consideration to end of life matters including euthanasia requests of healthy dogs at veterinary practices by non-owners of microchipped dogs.

Like most Acts, flaws are found in the legal system when actively put into practice.

The Act provided no comfort to cat owners whose pets may be injured in accidents being disposed of with no contact and consideration made to their owners.

How the UK dog microchip law ‘forgot’ about those healthy pets presented for euthanasia by non-owners including injured cats and dogs

TUK’s Law

The very sad story of Tuk, @scanme_tukslaw, a healthy rescue dog who was put down at the age of 16 months, by a vet, presented by a non-owner, during 2016 where the vet failed to scan the microchip and find that he actually had an active registrant owner has finally woken Parliament to the failings of the 2016 Law.


Previously a petition called Gizmo, @gizmos_legacy, had already been presented surrounding a much loved elderly cat named Gizmo that was knocked down and disposed of without any authority having scanned her microchip, and was being debated during 2019.

These two occurrences highlight some of the failings by authorities, without any reasonable contact being made to the owners of these pets and where vets failed to make proper checks prior to, or at end of life.

A petition to the UK Parliament was drawn up.

@gizmos_legacy and @scanme_tukslaw ask readers to ensure their MP is voting for the reform.

Tuk’s Law, Gizmo’s Law and Fern’s Law Update

Miss Pritti Patel, The Home Office Minister met Environment Secretary George Eustice and the Justice Secretary Robert Buckland during March 2021 to agree a cross-government approach and a special team, to report on the huge and distressing problems of pet theft setting up a special Pet Theft Taskforce which includes junior ministers to report on the problems with recommendations.

The taskforce will be chaired by the Lord Chancellor, The Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC and be made up of government officials from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice as well as operational partners such as the police. It will seek input from animal welfare groups and experts in relevant fields to:

  • Gather, research and commission work to build a clear evidence base of the scale of any issue, 
  • Consider the issue from end to end, including causes, prevention, reporting, enforcement and prosecution, 
  • Make clear and timely recommendations on ways to improve the situation around pet theft.

Read the full Terms of Reference for the taskforce here.

Ministers took this opportunity to include consultation on three separate mandatory scanning campaigns who hope to report back during summer 2021.

  • Tuk’s Law, which would make it mandatory for vets to scan cats and dogs for microchips before putting them down
  • Gizmo’s Legacy to make it mandatory to scan for microchips when a cat or dog is found dead by the roadside
  • Fern’s Law, which would require vets to microchip cats and dogs when brought into a vet practice for the first time


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