Support Gizmo’s Legacy in scanning all cats killed on the roads for microchips

Date published: 23 October 2018

A Heywood woman is urging pet lovers to back a campaign to check all cats killed or injured on the roads for a microchip.

Rochdale Vets4Pets receptionist Amanda Stephens hopes that many others will back the ‘Gizmo’s Legacy’ petition, which would see the UK law require that cats be scanned by councils in the same way that dogs are, saving their owners from the heartache of not knowing what happened to their beloved pet.

Gizmo’s Legacy was started after the eponymous cat was hit by a car and euthanised, despite being microchipped. As a result, she was not reunited with her distraught owner, Heléna Abrahams, of Bury, who has called for the UK government to change the law.

Amanda said: “Gizmo was killed in a road traffic accident, and she was microchipped. The council did not scan and threw her on landfill. Gizmo’s Legacy is a petition go make it legal requirement for cats to be scanned like dogs. It is third time round for this petition and we need more publicity.”

Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations, said: “It is heartbreaking for owners not to know what has become of a missing animal.

“Council cleansing departments are obliged to pick up animals killed on the road and we are always grateful to local councils that scan cats they pick up for a microchip and then contact the owner. We would like all councils across the UK to do this. A number of our volunteer branches have worked successfully with their local councils to ensure cats get scanned.

“Cats Protection would very much like microchipping to be made compulsory for owned cats in the UK, which is why we made it a priority in our 2022 agenda, to allow more pets to be reunited with their owners and to allow owners to be contacted if their cat is involved in a road traffic accident.

“We would also remind cat owners of the importance of keeping their microchip details up to date, for example when they move.”

Rochdale Borough Council has confirmed it does have a policy in place to scan deceased cats for microchips and has done for four years.

If the cat has a chip, a member of the environmental management team will contact the owner to break the sad news and arrange for the pet to be picked up or incinerated at Viridor.

If the pet does not have a chip, they are stored for up to four weeks in case they fit a description from concerned owners.

Unclaimed pets are also taken to Viridor.

A council spokesperson added: “We always make every effort to identify pet owners.”

Despite being one of the UK's most popular pets, it is not required by law to report running a cat over: as cats can roam freely, the same argument which makes reporting a dog mandatory simply does not stand.

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, you must stop and report the collision to the police if you hit kill, injure or hit any of the following: dogs, horses, cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, donkeys and mules.

In the eyes of the law, accidents involving dogs are more likely to lead to damage, either to property or people, so drivers need to report the details to the police to establish liability.

Because dogs are required to wear collars and be kept on a lead on the highway, drivers need to report accidents involving dogs in case an offence has been committed by the owner.

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