Greater use of microchips would reunite more dogs with owners
We might be a nation of animal lovers but a leading charity is warning Scotland has more stray dogs than ever before.
New figures from theDogs Trust reveal Scottish local authorities dealt with nearly 5,000 strays last year – up a massive 39% on the previous year.
Across the UK however the number of strays have decreased, with the total number falling by 1% from 111,986 to 110,675.
According to the trust's annual survey much of the problem in Scotland seems to be around owners' lack of awareness of where to turn when their pets go missing.
The survey found more than three quarters of owners said don’t know whose responsibility it is to care for missing strays.
And when asked who they would contact, 50% of respondents in Scotland said they would get in touch with a family member or neighbour, rather than calling the local council, not knowing who else to turn to.
Owners are unsure of who to reach out to and how much time they have to recover their dog should it go missing
A further 67% of respondents in Scotland were also unaware that they had only seven days to recover their missing dog before they are potentially put to sleep if a new home cannot be found.
It has led to a call from the charity for more owners to microchip their pets to enable easier identification.
Clarissa Baldwin, chief executive of the Dogs Trust said: “Owners are unsure of who to reach out to and how much time they have to recover their dog should he or she go missing. Microchipping not only helps speed up the process of reuniting an owner with their dog, it is also significantly reducing the number of strays overall.”
The stress of losing man’s best friend is also having a serious impact on Scotland’s workforce.
The survey found that almost one fifth of owners said they had taken time off work because of a missing dog – either to search for it or because they were upset at the dog having gone missing.