The MP for Bracknell is backing a bill that could bring the era of microchipping dogs to an end.

Microchipping is a common practice among pet owners, which involves injecting your pet with a microchip that can be scanned.

The microchip contains information that is part of national database, which can the be used to reunite dogs with their owners in the event of them being lost or stolen.

It is a legal requirement to get your dog microchipped in England by the time they are eight weeks old. If you don’t, you can be fined up to £500.

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But a new Bill will be introduced which could bring microchipping to an end, with a DNA database for dogs being set up instead.

James Sunderland, the Conservative MP for Bracknell, is backing the bill, dubbed the Doggie DNA Bill.

It is being introduced because microchips can be inserted into dogs incorrectly, and there is the potential for theives to either remove the microchips or rework them for their own benefit.

Because DNA is unique, it is hoped the database will make it easier to identify dogs who may have been stolen or resolve ownership disputes.

Voicing his support, Mr Sunderland said: “As the owner of a much-loved family dog I would want to do everything I can to identify him in the event that he was stolen.  The impact of dog theft on the families left behind is heartbreaking.  Given the known issues with microchipping this database is a unique record of the dog and their owners and may go some way to deter gangs involved in this crime.

“I would encourage all constituents to show their support using the #DoggieDNABill on social media.’’

Bracknell News: Bracknell MP James Sunderland. Credit: Office of James Sunderland MPBracknell MP James Sunderland. Credit: Office of James Sunderland MP

The introduction of the bill comes as dog theft increased by more than 250 per cent in 2020.

In May this year, the Government  launched a Pet Theft Taskforce. which hopes to tackle the issue by working with police and law enforcement and produce helpful recommendations on how to prevent such thefts.

Locally, the Public Protection Partnership (PPP), which deals with animal welfare issues in Bracknell Forest, Wokingham Borough and West Berkshire, warned residents about unscrupulous thieves marking houses who may have a pedigree dog to be stolen using coloured rubber bands.

The PPP has advised dog owners to take care, avoid social posts of their dogs, use a short lead and take different routes when walking their dog to avoid becoming easy targets.

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The bill has received support from the RSPCA and the National Police Chief’s Council.

The RSPCA said: ‘’We will welcome the measures that will streamline the process of registering dogs, making this easier for owners and authorities and vets to get the information they need. We would encourage anyone who supports this Bill to get in touch with their MP to ask them to get involved.”

The Doggie DNA Bill was announced today by Andrew Griffith, the Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs in West Sussex.

Mr Griffith successfully introduced the Bill after Prime Minister’s Question Time, which is held each Wednesday at 12pm.