Worlds first all-scanning country!


Where it began...

In 2015 we surveyed Wales and discovered 8 councils did not scan deceased pets for microchips, nor inform the owners. In 2016 we opened talks with all of these councils. Initially Carmarthenshire and Neath Port Talbot shown some interest and agreed to look in to their current policies. Neath soon adopted a scanning approach to their day teams with the intention of extending this to night staff should it be successful - and it was! Carmarthenshire claimed to follow and gave statements to the local media at how happy they were to be implementing such a procedure to residents. However, that was not to last long...

After some more extra pushing, Powys also agreed to change policy and expressed they wanted to introduce scanners to 4 of their depots across the region, but lack of funds was preventing them from going straight ahead. After the scanners were donated free of charge to the council, the process was soon rolled out.

We continued trying to encourage Gwynedd, Newport, Cardiff, Blaenau Gwent and Anglesey to no avail.

Feeling defeated at trying to work with the remaining councils, we knew we needed some help as they just weren't going to budge!

Petition...

In 2017 we decided to take our argument to Government level and created a petition calling on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to introduce a policy to implement the compulsory scanning of domestic pets by councils. When the deadline hit, our petition had smashed the required target to go through for consideration 20 times over! A date was set for the Welsh Assembly to consider our campaign, and we were personally invited down to hand the petition in person and meet the AMs who would be debating the issue.

Assembly Members were supportive of our goals, some even stating how they felt when their cats went missing and, although they thankfully returned after a few days, they briefly felt what some owners go through, and completely understood and supported us doing what we do - making cats have dignity in death, and getting owners the closure they need and deserve!

The following week the Assembly decided to pass through our petition, and write to the Cabinet Secretary to discover what the Government could do. During this time, we refused to let things fall down to fate and continued to drum up further support from numerous MPs and AMs around Wales. Once we had heard from the Cabinet Secretary, it was clear a mandatory requirement was no desired. Fearing a direct law change was not something the Welsh Government were focused on, we changed tack to get the desired result. This led to, at the second meeting, the committee agreeing to write to all the councils to state they wanted them to adopt a scanning approach and, depending on the results back, it would determine if the issue would need consideration for a mandatory requirement putting in place. We'd took a huge risk by changing tac and influencing a different route, but we had reason to believe some in Government did not want a mandatory requirement in place, and a debate could result in a failed petition with no further action. Would the Government writing to councils with a hinted threat work? We were about to find out...

Over the next month we waited anxiously for the results to come in, and one by one the Assembly produced to us the council letters. Anglesey came in first and, remembering they told us under no circumstances would they implement a scanning approach until 2021, we almost fell over to read the confirmation to Government that they had now paid the contract amendment fee and scanners were currently being rolled out! Newport came next, another council who had shown us little interest in wanting to do the right thing for residents. Newport also confirmed to the Government they have changed policy and were awaiting the equipment with the intent to roll it out as soon as it arrived!

We then received word that Cardiff wanted to get something implemented as soon as possible and were currently making arrangements with local veterinary practices where the bodies would be sent to and scanned. We stayed in contact with the Cardiff team and, although the vet option fell through after an unsuccessful trial, Cardiff then made arrangements with Cardiff Dogs Home to send the bodies there - as they do for deceased dogs currently- and they began getting the extra equipment needed to store the cats there. Next up was Blaenau Gwent who were slow and uneasy to respond, but did state to Government they were in the process of reviewing their current policy with the intention to have this up and running as soon as. We stayed in contact with the team who have since confirmed to the Welsh Assembly a procedure is in place.

Last up was Gwynedd who had always been hard to work with, one of the hardest councils we have ever dealt with. They had refused point blank in the past and turned their noses up at the offer of free equipment donating. With Gwynedd now the only council in Wales to not either have a scanning facility in place, or be reviewing procedure, we called on the Government to not leave it with just one council. Before committee meeting number 3 for the petition, we tried our hardest to change the result and our efforts were not in vain! We asked CatsMatter supporters from the area to help us, and around 50-60 people responded to our plea to tell the government their thoughts on Gwynedd being the only council in Wales to not scan pets for microchips. Supporters Tess and Linda from Gwynedd went above and beyond calling in old favours and contacting officials, even writing to the local newspapers to publically tell the county what was happening! At the same time, we re-contacted councillors trying our best to turn it around. The immense pressure put on Gwynedd worked, and they began looking in to the issue seriously. Not wanting to be the only council in Wales without a scanning policy in place, they quickly got to work implementing scanners to their depots - we will be eternally grateful for all our supporters who were instrumental in achieving the once unthinkable!

Batman...

The Assembly met to review the results but there was a problem. 2 weeks before the committee meeting, which intended to close the petition with the desired result, we got word from a supporter that Carmarthenshire were not scanning cats found - or even collecting them when people reported them! Instantly we contacted the council and discovered, as we believed, the council had since scrapped the service. Now, there is a huge story to Carmarthenshire which we will chose not to go in to as our supporters have heard it countless times over the past few months, but lets just say we were shocked and angry! The supporter in question Kirsty, battled the council with us and we made clear we were not prepared to let them stand in the way of a fantastic result for the Welsh people. The Welsh Assembly agreed to send our petition to a 4th round as they wanted confirmation from all councils, and they wanted to speak to Carmarthenshire about what had happened. Thankfully Carmarthenshire began researching ideas to get a procedure firmly in place, and we were confident they soon would be scanning. The Assembly aimed to get full confirmation from Carmarthenshire, and intended to announce Wales as the first all-scanning country at meeting number 4.

First all-scanning country...

Now, the Welsh Assembly will be announcing the final results of our petition, which we submitted almost 2 years ago and have managed to keep active within Government all this time, on November 27th 2018. The committee agenda will be available to view from late next week and you can watch live from 9am on the 27th on Senedd TV

Although the committee documents are not yet available to view publically, Carmarthenshire have confirmed to the Government that they will be going ahead with a scanning approach, which means ALL local authorities in Wales will scan cats for microchips and notify the owners. The date of commencement will be within the next month. Not just cats, but all dogs, ferrets, foxes and badgers, who have tragically been hit by a car and collected by the council, will be taken to 1 of 3 vets in the region, depending on the area they were collected from. Domestic animals will be scanned for a microchip, and be returned to any located owner should they wish. The rest will be respectfully cremated as opposed to be disrespectfully landfilled like rubbish. The contract has been liaised between all parties involved and is currently being signed before commencement.


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