Dogs to be microchipped next year

Dogs are rarely registered pets in Latvia, and it's very hard to find the owner of a dog that's ended up in an animal shelter, or to find out whether a dog that has bitten a human has been vaccinated against rabies. 

This is about to change, as dogs older than six months will have to be registered at the Agricultural Data Centre of Latvia, reported Latvian Television on Tuesday.

The current system of voluntary registration is ineffective, as animal shelters are full of dogs without a master, even though they are not stray dogs. Only about 2,000 have registered their dogs voluntarily at the Riga Municipality, though the number of our canine friends is much larger in Riga.

"The registration fee in the city is small. It has been introduced as the animals use up the infrastructure of the city. Even if a dog lives in a mansion, once a year it'll be walked outside and could give birth to puppies that won't have a master and therefore will be under the protection of the city," said deputy chief of the Housing and Environment Comittee of the Riga Municipality.

The fee is €8.54 in Riga, and will be used for sterilizing stray dogs and building infrastructure for dogs. Other benefits will include a vaccination register that'll show if the dog has received shots for rabies, and of course the masters (or just owners) of the dogs will be found with less effort as a stray dog will just have to be taken to a vet who'll read the data and contact the owner (or master).

This system will also prevent owners from abandoning their dogs, and those who'll try saving the 20 euros on the microchips will risk fines of up to a few hundred euros. 

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