Microchipping Prevents Stray Dogs

Pete Wedderburn
7th April 2020 - 3 min read

The small terrier cowered at the edge of the busy motorway. He had nowhere to go as the traffic roared past him, on one side, and on his other side, there was a high, solid wall. Susan was driving back from work when she saw the little dog beside the busy road. She stopped, picked him up, and drove straight to my clinic to have him checked over.

When I examined him, it was obvious that he had suffered physical abuse. He had scars on his front feet, and on both sides of his muzzle. Had he been attacked by other dogs? Or had the old injuries been inflicted by a human?

It was impossible to tell. Somebody must have abandoned him deliberately.

The Importance Of Microchipping

There was no way that he could have found his own way to the edge of the motorway. His former owner had abused him, neglected him, then had cast him out.

It was hard to imagine how anyone could be so cruel to a defenseless animal. They must have realised that he was likely to be killed by the traffic on that busy road. I scanned him to check for a microchip, and of course, there was none present.

Nowadays, all dogs in Ireland are obliged to be microchipped as puppies, so it is possible to keep a track of their owners from birth to death.

Compulsory microchipping is making a huge contribution to solving the stray and unwanted dog problem but sadly, many dogs are still not chipped by their owners.

If Susan’s foundling had been microchipped, we could have tracked down his origins, and perhaps identify those who had been cruel to him.

As it was, he was an ownerless dog, with an unknown history. Susan wanted to make sure that the dog had a good, safe life, but she could not keep him herself. What could be done?

I explained the correct procedure that needed to be followed. The local authority dog warden would be informed that a stray dog had been found. He would then collect the terrier from us, and take him to the local dog pound.

Procedure For Stray Dogs

The dog would be kept for five days, then if no owner had come forwards (which was certain to be the case), the pup would become the property of the local authority.

Dog pounds assess their stray dogs, and if a dog seems healthy and good natured, attempts are now usually made to rehome the animal through an animal sanctuary.

Sadly, not all stray dogs can be saved, and there was a risk that the pup would be euthanased rather than being rescued from the dog pound.

Susan was shocked by this, but I explained that she could take steps to make sure that her new friend would be safe. The dog warden could be reassured that there were people keen to look after the dog.

After the five days were up, the dog could be released from the pound back to Susan, and she could then take steps to find a good home for him through an animal sanctuary. Susan agreed with this, and the dog went to the pound later on in the day.

A week later, Susan came back to our clinic, with the dog in her arms. I asked her in: what was happening? She smiled.

Susan had thought about the dog a lot in the five days while he was at the pound. She had decided that she could keep him after all. He was a small dog, and she could arrange for her family to help look after him while she was at work.

He was with her to stay.


  • Compulsory microchipping is reducing the number of stray dogs
  • Some people are still breaking the law by not having their dogs chipped
  • Chipping is a one-off procedure that lasts for the whole lifetime of a dog