We were shocked recently to find out that from July this year, Highways Agency contractors will no longer be required to inform owners, or even police and dog wardens, when a dog is recovered dead from the road. This is already the case in some parts of the UK, with the remainder to join over the next few months.
This is despite the fact that in April 2016 compulsory microchipping comes into force, making most dogs instantly identifiable by scanning.
Harvey’s Law seeks to reinstate the process of informing owners and authorities by gaining over 100,000 e-signatures to trigger eligibility for a Commons debate.
Simon Wheeler, Managing Director of Agria Pet Insurance says, “When our pets are unwell we worry. But when a pet is missing, the ‘not knowing’ is unbearable. That’s why we support the Harvey’s Law campaign and urge people to sign the online petition to play their part in changing legislation.”
Please sign the petition yourself, and if you’re able to, encourage your clients to do the same and help bring about change! Sign the petition by clicking here, or have a look at Harvey’s Law’s Facebook site.
How the campaign started
The charity behind the e-petition, Harvey’s Army, was founded by Nina Blackburn after the dog belonging to her good friends, Shaun Robertson and Jude Devine, was killed on the motorway the day he ran away. But despite wearing a tag and being microchipped, when his body was recovered by the Highways Agency, his owners weren’t informed. This meant they searched tirelessly for their two-year-old miniature poodle for three months before eventually finding out what had happened.
The Highways Agency comments that after July 2015 contractors ‘may’ still try to identify dogs, record their details and get in touch with owners. But as this is not enforceable, all owners can do is make it as easy as possible for their dog to be identified – and hope the person finding them takes more care than in Harvey’s case.
The importance of identity tags
Every new policy taken out with Agria Pet Insurance includes free membership of Pet 24 – a visual identification service designed to go hand-in-hand with microchipping. As a member, dogs wear a clear and visible tag that gives the number of the 24-hour dedicated service. Also on the tag, the dog’s unique code links it via the Pet 24 database to its owner – making it as easy as possible for anyone finding a dog to immediately hand over responsibility for telling the owner. Pet 24 can also authorise veterinary care, if necessary.
Without obligatory scanning, a tag could boost the chances of being informed and prevent owners from endlessly hoping their dog will return. Harvey’s Law would make this a given, rather than just a hope, with Highways Agency departments following set guidelines when finding an animal by the roadside. These would include compulsory scanning, the filing and circulating of log reports to police and dog wardens, and photographs taken and retained for identification purposes.
Trustee of Harvey’s Law, Karen Blackburn, says, “Considering the Government’s implementation of compulsory microchipping in 2016 to tackle the problem of stolen and stray pets, the fact that they have removed their own procedure to reunite owners, even if it’s bad news, is appalling.”
Simon Wheeler concludes, “If we can only rely on an individual’s goodwill to get in contact via our pet’s tag, we have to make that option as easy and effective as possible. As well as helping with the advertising costs and offering a reward to try to find a lost pet, we give our policy holders free membership of Pet 24 to give them a level of reassurance that, should their pet go missing, have an accident, or sadly, even worse, they have the best chance of finding them, and won’t have to suffer as Harvey’s owners did.”
Working with Agria
Agria is committed to developing products and services that satisfy the changing needs of pet owners and the many organisations that support them. You and your clients will benefit from:
- Veterinary fees cover up to £12,500 each year
- Veterinary qualified claims team
- Fast and efficient claims process
- Claims settled directly to the client or even to your practice
- Locally based service team with knowledge of UK veterinary practices