England Will Require Dog Microchips by 2016

On occasion even a well-trained dog can wander off for a while during a hunt. It's happened to me. I'll bet it's happened to you. So, having a veterinarian implant a microchip into our animals—a simple, vaccination-like procedure that enables dogs to be quickly identified and returned—may not be such a bad idea. However, I think doing so should be strictly at the discretion of individual dog owners.

England disagrees. By 2016 it will require all canines to be microchipped. Pet owners who fail to do so face fines of up to $800.

"It's a shame that in a nation of dog lovers, thousands of dogs are roaming the streets or stuck in kennels because the owner cannot be tracked down," Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said in a statement. "Microchipping is a simple solution that gives peace of mind to owners."

Thousands of dogs are roaming England's streets? Sounds like the Brits have a larger issue on their hands than non-microchipped dogs.

A microchip costs about 50 to 80 bucks including registration fees. Certainly that's an inconvenience in itself, but to me this is an issue of freedom: I'm not comfortable with government telling me I must microchip my dog any more than I am with mandatory spay/neuter laws.

However, I'm an American, and it seems many Englishmen have lost that instinct. They're more supportive of if not reliant on government. I believe this is just one more example.

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