Millions of cat owners could be expected to get their cats microchipped or face fines under new government plans as the number of felines being stolen has risen sharply during the pandemic.
Data from the police shows the number of cats being taken has risen almost threefold in five years, with a notable 12.3% in the last year. Owners are now being asked to microchip their cats in the same way as dogs already are.
The Telegraph reported that a microchipping measure, which means animals can be tracked and identified if stolen and resold, is being introduced as part of a package of changes by a ministerial taskforce to combat the growing black market in stolen pets. Those who do not get their cats registered will face a fine of up to £500.
The taskforce was set up by Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, with Priti Patel, the home secretary, and George Eustice, the environment secretary.
A government spokesperson said: “Last month the home secretary, the lord chancellor and the environment secretary met to discuss a cross-government approach to combatting this issue and we will announce next steps in due course. This builds upon the huge amounts of work already undertaken by junior ministers and officials to address this cruel and criminal practice.”
Stefan Blakiston Moore, an advocacy and government relations officer for Cats Protection, said: “It is a Conservative manifesto commitment [for cats to be legally microchipped] so we hope they will come forward with this. Cats Protection has been campaigning for it for a number of years.
- What has been the concern about felines during the pandemic?
- Which is the best measure imposed to feline owners?
- Why is microchip important for the cats?
- Who should be fined in case of not adhering to the measure?
- Why is stealing cats punishable?