Latvian dog lovers don't love registering their pets

The animal police animal welfare non-governmental organization “Dzīvnieku policija” estimates that only around 40% of Latvian dogs are microchipped, and even around half of those who are, aren't registered, making the microchips obsolete, according to a Latvian Radio broadcast on January 10.

The main reasons for these lazy numbers could boil down to forgetfulness and the veterinary costs associated with the microchipping process, despite it being a legal requirement to microchip and register dogs. “Dzīvnieku policija” representative Ilze Džonsone maintains that there would be less dogs at shelters if people followed the law.

“Many simply don't do it. And to control it, first of all, municipalities and the FVS don't have the resources, and additionally it would be disproportionately expensive,” said Džonsone.

The animal police had suggested using European funds to cover the cost of microchipping and registration, but the idea was rejected. Currently veterinarians set their own prices, which can range from 20 euros to 60 euros if you also need a travel passport. Veterinarians can also register microchipped dogs, or it can be done online at latvija.lv.

“The greatest shortcoming is that the microchipping isn't associated with registration. It's very wrong,” said Džonsone.

Many dog owners just assume that after the amount they've paid the vet, that their pet has also been registered. It costs 3.50 euros for owners to register the microchip themselves, but veterinarians could ask for an additional five euros. Džonsone says one solution could include conducting a “pet census”.

Theoretically the Food and Veterinary Service (FVS) and municipal police should oversee microchipping. Rīga Municipal Police representative Lāsma Geidāne says that owners who don't register their pets can be held administratively liable. In 2019 police came into contact with 113 owners with unregistered pets. Fines can range from seven to 350 euros.

As previously reported, dogs have to be microchipped in Latvia since January 1, 2017. The chipping procedure will be carried out by veterinarians and inspectors of Latvia's Food and Veterinary Service. However rows erupted about the costs of the procedure, as Latvians had complained to the Agriculture Ministry over the high price of the procedure.

The Latvian Cynologists' Federation however claims that if an owner of a pet cannot afford a microchipping procedure, he or she cannot afford keeping a pet as well. However the Agriculture Ministry hopes costs will be driven down by licensing PVD inspectors - not only certified veterinarians - to place microchip implants into pets.
 

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