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Friday, 4 May 2012

Bargaining chip


I have recently adopted a Greyhound from a rescue centre that specialises in the adoption of sighthounds. She's not our first Greyhound/sighthound. We paid our "donation" to the centre and left with adoption papers and her free month of pet insurance from PetPlan. She is neutered and microchipped. This is where my problem now lies.

I sent off the adoption papers along with the fee to get my details registered to her microchip. I received a phone call from pet log today saying that the rescue centre have refused to let them change the details. I phoned the rescue centre and they said, "It was nothing personal, they do it to everyone to safeguard the dogs as they've had dogs dumped".

Surely it is in the dogs best interest to have its current owners details registered? Is there anything I can do?

Lisa, by email

Dogs Trust's legal expert Trevor Cooper (, advises...

As there is currently no law on microchipping it is entirely a matter for the owner at the time to decide whether or not to change the details on the database when the dog is transferred to someone else. If the details don’t get changed on transfer, then our argument for saying that chipping means that the person responsible can more easily be traced goes out of the window.

This becomes a little complicated:-


This issue is most likely to arise with rescues. They want to make sure that a dog that they rehome is properly looked after and want to ensure that it that is not the position that they will be able to get the dog back. They believe that the likelihood of the dog getting back to them is increased if they retain ownership ie the legal title. Should the dog stray, the rescue will say that it should be returned to them and they can then decide whether or not to entrust the dog with the keeper again. The problem will come if the rescue moves or if they lose their records.


For the same reason, some breeders do the same thing. There is often a clause used that if the new owner doesn’t want the dog any more that it must be returned to the original owner. However, in fact this kind of clause is unenforceable if ownership passes, because:-

A transfers ownership of a dog to B with that clause. However, B gives the dog to C ie. B breaches the agreement that it had with A. However A can’t get the dog back from C because they had no contract with them.

However, if ownership does not pass from A to B (ie if B becomes the keeper rather than the owner), then if B gives the dog to C, it is slightly more likely that A will be able to reclaim the dog as being the legal owner. However I really do not like this kind of arrangement and would try to argue for C in this kind of case as I would say that in fact ownership had passed from A to B.


  1. I don't speak for Trevor Cooper but my notes from one of his lectures states that he advises against rescues doing this, as they exercise no rights of ownership over the dog once you have adopted it, so shouldn't keep the chip in their name.

    I personally believe that the person who puts the chip in, only owns the chip. I'd never get a dog from a rescue that insisted on doing this, because rescues do fail and close down, but now that you have the dog, I'd suggest you have the dog chipped again, and/or make sure that your details are always on the dog in the form of an id tag. You could also phone the rescue and insist they add your contact details to theirs. In the end, the more contacts available, the better chance of the dog getting back to you quickly.

    They should have told you this was their policy before you picked the dog up.

  2. Cant help but think this is silly. If a dog is rehomed, then it is rehomed. Someone else takes it on. Imagine that greyhound goes missing 5-10 years down the line - i would rather have my details registered so that the dog can be returned to me asap, instead of it being registered to a rescue where during the 10 years it has been homed there may have been staff changes, lost records etc etc and they will have totally forgotten who this 1 individual dog is. I find it bizarre that if the rescue deem these owners as responsible enough to rehome one of their dogs why they dont deem them responsible enough to ensure microchip data is up to date and that they wont "dump" them. If they are that bothered provide the owners with a tag for the collar making people aware that is where the dog is from - all dogs should have collars and tag info anyway....

  3. Petlog are being they usual officious selves!

    You can register the address as the rescue, but the phone numbers can be set to 1st one to Adopter, 2nd one to rescue.

    I know it sound stupid, but it is to protect the dogs, they are right dogs have been dumped, but also long dogs that have been rescued have been used to hunt, and in some cases used in fights.

    With the chip registered to the rescue, the ownership cannot be in question

    1. Another phone call to Petlog then! I must admit I was that stunned I didn't even think about them having a second contact.
      Thank you.

  4. My rescue Boxer from Boxer Rescue Los Angeles has a microchip that still has the rescues information on it. I am fine w/ that because I know the rescue organization has my information and will contact me if the dog is ever lost. Not a problem as I see it.

  5. I have given this some thought in light of the changes to microchipping and I think this is something the microchiping company needs to address, and if the government is going to make it a requirement of owning a pet they must help them to do so. It must take into account the plight of the UK's homeless dogs, why in this time of unlimited technology can two lots of details not easily be held under one microchip number? Firstly, the current owner and first point of contact should the dog be found/scanned and secondly the source or origin of the dog (in this case the rescue in others when they come from reputable breeders; the breeder). If this is not part of the ‘big plan’ just what is the purpose in making people microchip their dog? I see why the rescue want to retain ‘ownership’ over the dog they have put time, money and effort into rehoming but also the new owner who will do so from now on. Is it just me that thinks this should be obvious?

  6. Hi Lisa

    I have three rescue greyhounds and have come across this too. All mine are microchipped and for the two that came from a specialist greyhound rescue/rehoming charity their microchips are still registered to the charity.

    However, when I adopted both dogs it was made clear to me that their microchip details would remain registered to the charity. The details of this were in my adoption papers and the explanation I received was that it was their policy and that there is always someone available on the telephone number that is on the microchip database.

    They also explained that this policy was borne out of looking after the long-term welfare of the dogs they rehomed, mainly because of the reasons you've mentioned. My adoption paperwork also made it clear that I had to inform the charity if any of my dogs go missing, not to rehome any dog privately and to inform them if the dog has to be put to sleep.

    It does sound as though the charity didn't explain this to you, especially if they provided you with the paperwork to amend the microchip details. I can understand why you're concerned.

    I'd double check your adoption paperwork though, as if it isn't expressly mentioned, you haven't given your consent to it (from a contractual point of view). I suspect this may be a bit of a grey area though (no pun intended) if it's the charity's policy you may have a tough job persuading them to alter it.

  7. I think this is fairly common practice among rescue organisations. I recently adopted a Whippet called Stanley and his chip is registered to the rescue organisation with my address details down in the space for a secondary address which is normally used for holidays and the like.

    Ideally, I'd like Stanley to be registered to me and to have the rescue organisation as the secondary address, but I see why they follow these rules. If Stan went missing I'd contact the rescue organisation straight away anyway, and if he was picked up and the rescue was contacted, they'd know where I am so they could help to reunite us.

    It's worth speaking to the organisation concerned, as I'm sure the rescue I got Stanley from had a policy that my details should be included on the chip registration as a secondary address.

  8. Can you have the greyhound chipped a second time with your details attached to that chip. Then at least if he is lost both sets of details will be found

  9. I have been adopted by a lurcher, my third consecutive rescue dog.

    I volunteer for a small, specialist Rescue Charity and all dogs remain chipped to the Rescue. It safeguards the dogs; that's the one and only reason. It's not that we don't trust YOU, Mr. New Adopter... but at some point in the past there has been somebody (perhaps more than one somebody) who has let our dogs down, and for it to happen again would be heartbreaking.

    Despite a rigorous adopter vetting procedure we have had people try to pass on Rescue dogs, and I know of other Rescues who have had dogs stray and end up in the pound; those dogs are only safe today because of the Rescue microchip - where were the new "owners" then? No doubt there are many excellent trustworthy new adopters who rigorously keep their details up to date but there are just as many who do not. You can't legislate for human nature; some people will say literally anything to get hold of a dog but we can't follow every dog home and check that every day the adopters' promises are followed through. People change. Circumstances change.

    When it comes down to it, there are plenty of rescue dogs about; if you do not - or are unwilling to - abide by the criteria and conditions of homing a dog from a particular organisation, when many of those criteria have been honed through bitter experience and a desire to do the best FOR THE DOG - then you can always re-home from another organisation more suited to your needs, rather than sounding off about the Rescue with whose criteria you do not agree.

    As a specialist rescue we have often been approached by adopters of dogs from other organisations without such strict re-homing criteria who find themselves with an unsuitable dog and no back-up from that organisation. As far as we are concerned the retaining of the chip in our name forms part of the back-up we offer when you adopt one of our dogs.

    1. I would like to point out that this is not my first Greyhound. I have been adopting them for many years from different rescue centres. I have always had a home check, and always took my dogs to see the prospective adoptee. We were donating equipment to the rescue centre which is how I came to adopt another dog. We made two trips to the centre, one to introduce our dogs. We spent over two hours there and not once was their policy on microchipping ever mentioned, and not on the scant piece of paper that seems to class as an adoption certificate. We were also told that home checks are "a waste of time". So it seems rather a dichotomy in their policies.
      This has only come to light as it was pet log that phoned to tell me, by this time I had had the dog four weeks. Maybe if the rescue centre had mentioned it and been able to explain it on a more personal level, rather than me having to ring them after Pet Log had phoned me and get the rather curt "it's our policy" answer that I got, I wouldn't have to "sound off".

      All of my dogs have two ID tags, one for us and one for the rescue centre they came from. This is our "policy". I have also never lost a dog but I'm not naive enough to say it'll never happen. If it does I want to be the first person contacted not the rescue centre.

    2. Sorry, Lisa: it wasn't actually you that the "sounding off" thing was aimed at, but another commenter who seemed to have some kind of axe to grind against a particular organisation.

      I would say, though: what kind of "rescue centre" thinks homechecks are "a waste of time"? And you should have an adoption contract to study and sign before you take the dog away.

      I hope your adoption is successful and that you have many happy years together but I think the centre you adopted from has many more important issues to tackle regarding their rehoming procedure than retaining their details on the chip!

  10. Yes, this seems to be quite common, although it does seem somewhat unfair. As a breeder, I transfer all my pups microchips into their new owners names, but my contact details are on there as the emergency contact. I also state that there is a contract stating that the pup may not be transferred into another ownership without my permission. I can't see why the rescue cannot do the same.

  11. Hmmm...the cat rescue I'm involved with is thinking of doing something similar, whereby we will be listed on the microchip as a "carer" with our contact details...but the new "owner"'s details will be registered on the chip as well. That means that if the new owner were to move and forget to update their details, then at least my rescue will be contacted and the cat will be returned to us, as per the contract. Perhaps that could be considered as a compromise?

  12. I have homed out a handful of dogs over a number of years and each dog remains chipped to me. It encourages the adopters to keep me informed should they move or change contact details and a condition of the adoption agreement is that should the dog go missing for more than a couple of hours they must notify dog warden, police and myself. So if someone finds the dog I will be contacted first and will know what is going on with the dog. If it happened a number of times I may remove the dog from them. I am responsible for these dogs until the day they pass on, if anything happens in their placement and they cannot stay then they come back to me ~ its a lifetime back up I provide.

  13. Hi,
    I have rehomed a dog in the past and completely forgot to pick up her pet log papers. (I used to show dogs and had the occasional litter) I told the new owner that I would send them in the post as it was a compete oversight on my behalf. Anyway, the new owner took the puppy to the vet and he said it wasn't a problem and put a second microchip in her and sent the paperwork off!! I was flabbergasted as I thought you could only have one registered owner on a microchip(and you can) but the vet sorted it out by putting in another chip.(not sure if he removed the one I had put in!) I am sure this is totally wrong but that's what happened to one of mine.


  14. This is standard practice, because you adopt a dog, usually on the understanding that he goes back to the Rescue in case of the home breaking down etc.
    I phone the chip company and ask them to put my name on as well.

  15. I think the rescue is being very sensible. They have records of where their dogs have gone to so I don't see the problem. If I ran a rescue I would do the same.

  16. Kate Thornton4 May 2012 at 10:19

    I've also come across a rescue that insists on this. I must admit I found it a bit off-putting. They also said that 'ownership' would remain with them and that you're signing the contract to this affect, and you will be the 'guardian'. I suppose the microchip registration is because the rescue centre doesn't know the re-homers as such, so can ensure that the dog isn't abandoned by them if things don't work out. The rescue I knew said that if you lose the dog, you must contact them within an hour and then they'll know that it's a genuine loss and not a deliberate dumping, in which case they'd have it sent back to them and be back under their care. I guess I found it a bit difficult to swallow mentally, but decided that if I found the right dog there, I'd go with it. Very difficult - I think taking this at face value it really is just a case of them ensuring the animal's welfare, but I do sympathise.

  17. We adopted a labrador from Labrador Lifeline Trust in November and they do the same ... the microchip is registered to them not us. I know they have the dog's best interests at heart but it is somewhat worrying that should he be lost or missing we will not be the first port of call.

    Jane, Hants

  18. I'm sure I've seen cases of stolen dogs where ownership has been proved by the details on a microchip. If that's the case are these charities actually retaining ownership of every single dog they rehome? Surely that's just not practical?