Scans of dead missing pets will begin in one local council thanks to campaigners, joining several others that already do so in Sussex.
Starting from February 1, street cleaning teams employed by Arun District Council will scan any dead cats or domestic animals they find for microchips implanted by its owner.
If one is found, the owners will be informed of their pet’s death. This change comes after a national campaign to get local councils to scan dead pets, which was organised by Mandy Lowe.
Mandy, from Stourbridge in the West Midlands, started an online petition which has attracted almost 50,000 signatures. According to her petition, which can be seen here, Adur District Council, Brighton & Hove City Council, Mid Sussex District Council and Horsham District Council all have microchip scanning procedures in place.
She said that the change came about due to the outspokenness of Arun signees, who had ‘fiercely demanded change’. “When people sign petitions they don’t always realise the impact they can make with their signature yet now the council will scan pets and reunite them with their families.
The use of microchip scanners is part of the new three-year waste contract that was negotiated by Arun District Council.
Arun leader Gill Brown said she had received many emails and letters from concerned residents about the issue and was happy the contract had been renegotiated.
“We have not done it before, but we have always been aware of the distress of some pet owners who never find out what happens to their cats. It is a great comfort to families to know what happened to their pet, so it is good we can do it.”
Mrs Brown believed that dead pet discoveries in Arun were rare, but ‘one is enough’ to warrant the initiative.
“I have owned cats and lost some myself, so I know what people go through."
“It is a compassionate thing to do and it doesn’t cost much, so it is something we felt we could do.”