Every year, in the UK, thousands of cats are thrown away on landfill sites without being scanned for a microchip after being killed in road traffic accidents. As a consequence, their owners search for months and years to try and find out what happened to their cat without success and without closure.
It would only take a few minutes for the local authority’s employees to scan for a microchip to allow them to notify the owner. These are family members and they deserve to be returned to their homes to allow their guardians to grieve. It is unconscionable that ‘RTA cats’ are thrown onto landfill sites.
There is a petition online targeted at the UK government which has accumulated over 88,000 signatures. The target is 100,000 to force the government to debate the matter. The petition is part of a long-standing campaign to change the law in the UK, to force the authorities to act more responsibly towards road traffic accident cats. At the moment councils treat dogs and cats differently. When a dog is killed on the road they have to take action and scan for a microchip. Under these distressing circumstances why are they allowed to disrespect cats but respect dogs?
The petition demands that the law be changed so that cats are scanned and returned to their owners. Council say that they do scan cats killed on the road but apparently they don’t do it sufficiently often. They have no right to throw away cats as if they are rubbish.
The government in response make the usual rather clichéd argument. They say that they encourage the micro-chipping of cats and that it is an established…
“..good practice for local authorities and the Highways Agency to scan domestic pets found on our streets so that the owner can be informed.”
They consider the introduction of new law unnecessary. They believe that local authority good practice already deals with it. However, the petitioners believe that councils do not carry out their obligations and duties sufficiently frequently and therefore a legal change is urgently required.
The government says that they encourage local authorities to identify cat owners where possible. They also argue that all local authorities should already be in possession of handheld microchip scanners because they are required to enforce dog micro-chipping controls.
They further argue that Rule 286 of The Highway Code advises drivers to report any accident involving animal to the police. They believe this leads to pet owners being made aware of an incident. Sadly, it often does not.
The critical point is this: creating social obligations and voluntary codes of practice isn’t good enough because they’re not being followed sufficiently often. Cats get a bad deal with respect to RTAs.
I would agree with the petitioners; the law should be changed to treat cats and dogs equally in this respect. The government is being lazy. Perhaps they are being diverted from debating the introduction of a law because of Brexit. Brexit has sucked the life blood out of Parliament in the UK.