Launching at Westminster with Neil Parish MP, chairman of the Associate Parliamentary Committee for Animal Welfare and Angela Smith MP Shadow Defra Minister, the Alliance is to push for five key reforms.
Three lie with microchipping: Compulsory scanning of microchips by vets, rescues and animal wardens, and of deceased pets by highway authorities and Network Rail. This, the Alliance, believes will be crucial in reuniting pets with their owners.
Said an Alliance spokesperson: “The compulsory microchipping of dogs scheduled for England in 2016, and Wales next year, provided the ideal opportunity to implement these reforms, but sadly Defra has not taken this on board.”
The Alliance also wants a microchip to be absolute proof of ownership rather than simply the registered keeper so that ownership disputes can be more readily resolved.
Another strand to the campaign is through the judiciary, whereby the Alliance is asking for animals to be reclassified under theft legislation. As the legislation stands, theft of a pet is no more serious that the theft of an object. Prosecutions are few and custodial sentences unheard of.
Continued an Alliance spokesperson: “We have already made a submission to the Sentencing Council and this has been supported by Neil Parish in his capacity as AGPAW chairman.
The five organisations comprising SAMPA are DogLost – the country’s largest reunification organisation; Dog Theft Action; Pet Theft Awareness; the Dog Union and Vets Get Scanning – run by Sir Bruce Forsyth’s daughter, all of which have a common interest in pet theft and micro chipping.
Celebrity supporter, Marc the Vet, whose Pup Aid campaign prompted a parliamentary debate last week, also supported the launch and he is pictured with Angela Smith MP and Neil Parish MP.