After she was stolen from their East Sussex farm four years ago, Sable’s owners Roger and Julie Verity thought they'd never see their beloved Cocker Spaniel again - until they received a phone call from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home last month.
The eight-year-old dog had been brought to Battersea and when the world-renowned charity scanned her for a microchip, they were able to contact the family. They rushed down to collect her, delighted to be reunited with the dog they had been heartbroken to lose many years before.
A year after compulsory microchipping was introduced in Great Britain, there are still so many stray dogs who would not be as lucky as Sable. Despite the UK Government’s claim this year that 95% of all dogs are now microchipped, a new report published by Battersea today reveals only 65% of strays taken in by Local Authorities across the UK even have a chip fitted and too few of them are up to date.
While this is a welcome improvement from 45% of stray dogs chipped when Battersea ran the same survey in 2016, it falls far short of the Government’s claim.
More worryingly, the report into more than 50 Local Authorities also showed that of those dogs with a chip, more than half had out-of-date details, making the chip redundant.
Battersea's Chief Executive, Claire Horton, said: "Sable’s story spells out the importance of microchipping and Battersea’s new report shows there’s a lot more work to do to ensure pet dogs are all microchipped.
“Our research shows that when it comes to strays, where microchipping matters most, around a third are still not microchipped at all. Only two-thirds of strays taken in by Local Authorities have a microchip and many of those are registered with completely out-of-date information.
“Microchipping your dog is a simple, painless procedure and many Local Authorities and rescue centres, including Battersea, offer it free of charge to all dog owners. It could save you and your dog heartache and distress – without Sable’s microchip, we would never have been able to reunite her with her owners.”
Her owner, Julie Verity, added: “It’s wonderful to know that Sable is safe after all this time. The worst thing all this time has been not knowing what’s happened to her - not knowing if she was happy or if she was being mistreated. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved at Battersea, they were all so kind.”