New confusion is about to be thrown into the already complicated list of do’s and don’ts for the owners of cats, dogs… and ferrets.
Vets have decried it as a “disincentive to people to own animals” but the measure has been proposed by ruling PS Socialists, as a way to placate furious parish councils.
The problem stems from the recent changes to the law governing the registration of pets (a classification which for some reason includes ferrets).
Back in October last year, the law that had previously required people to have their animals duly registered at the local parish council was altered to insist that instead all animals should be microchipped.
Vets responsible for the chipping advised their clients that the requirement to register at parish councils was now obsolete, as the dog, cat or ferret’s details would henceforth be duly logged on the national SIAC (standing for ‘pet information system’) website.
But parish councils which had previously enjoyed a steady income from pet owners who, by law, had to register their animals annually in order for them to be deemed ‘safe to walk the streets’, felt the changes deeply in their pockets – and complained to the general directorate of local authorities which agreed that, yes, this change effectively bypasses the law that governs the workings of local authorities.
The general directorate of foodstuffs and veterinarians (DGAV) wholeheartedly disagrees. But for sake of compromise, PS Socialists have come up with the plan to accept both sides of the argument and tax animal owners twice – for exactly the same thing.
Say vets, the ‘compromise’ “complicates that which had been simplified” and creates yet another obstacle for anyone considering adopting a pet who wants to comply with the law.
Veterinary syndicate spokesperson Bruno Rolo stresses the plan “doesn’t even make sense”.
There is no need for annual registration to ensure animals are ‘safe to walk the streets’, he explained, when vaccinations for rabies for example are valid for three years.
This is likely to be a wrangle that will generate a lot of heat before the State Budget is finally ratified at the end of February.
In terms of what it could mean in costs, newspapers report that parish councils could be looking to claw-in up to €15 per year per animal.
This figure of course would spiral upwards if any owners are found not to have complied with the ‘double-registration’ requirements.