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Evaluating the recently imposed English compulsory dog microchipping policy. Evidence from an English Local Authority

Siettou, Christie
Preventive veterinary medicine 2019 v.163 pp. 31-36
Bull Terrier, Internet, animal welfare, crossing, data collection, dogs, empirical research, injectable transponders, issues and policy, microchip technology, ownership, regression analysis, traceability, youth, England
This is the first empirical study examining the effectiveness of the newly imposed English compulsory dog microchipping policy. A dataset of 2974 records was retrieved from an English local authority’s website. Records were from the period 2010–2018 and were analysed based on the three periods of the policy timeline: initial period includes data recorded prior to the intent of imposing the microchipping policy (April 1, 2010 - February 2, 2013); second period includes data recorded between the announcement of the intent and the date of the policy coming into effect (February 3, 2013–April 5, 2016); and the final period includes data recorded after the policy came into effect (April 6, 2016–July 4, 2018). A preliminary binary univariable logistic regression model analyzed the initial period which revealed that microchipping was an effective means of traceability providing evidence supporting the imposition of the policy. Thereafter, a multinomial logistic regression model was employed for the complete dataset and all policy periods. It revealed that both the period after the announcement of intent to impose the policy and the period after the policy came into effect have had a significant effect on the return of stray dogs, with the latter of greater magnitude. In particular for Staffordshire bull terriers and its crosses, which is the leading breed in animal welfare organization and local authority kennels, this study identifies the need for further research. Overall, these findings are encouraging in terms of the success of the policy however, more insights are required on keeping microchip details up-to-date and on the link of deprived areas, youth and the ownership of Staffordshire bull terriers. Although the findings of this study may not be generalized to all English local authorities, its conclusions could be used as a benchmark and starting point for further investigation.