A COCKER spaniel has been reunited with her family four years after being stolen thanks to her microchip.
Sable, now eight, was snatched from Roger and Julie Verity’s farm in East Sussex in 2013 and they feared they would never see her again.
The couple reported her as stolen to the local council and police, and were given very little hope of her being found.
But last month they had a call from Battersea Dogs and Cats home. She’d been handed in by an old lady who had been given her and could no longer take care her.
Sable had been handed in and scanned, and their details were found on her microchip.
Elated Julie said: “It’s wonderful to know that Sable is safe after all this time. We are so happy to have her home.
“The worst thing has been not knowing what’s happened to her – not knowing if she was happy or if she was being mistreated.
“It has been heartbreaking without her and we are delighted to be reunited with her after all this time.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved at Battersea, they were all so kind.”
Microchips became compulsory for UK dog owners a year ago and owners who don’t have their dog chipped face a £500 fine.
The Government claims 95 per cent of owners comply, but figures from Battersea reveal only 65 per cent of strays have one fitted.
And of those, only a third have accurate and up-to-date details attached so owners can be traced.
Research by 50 local authorities across the UK found only two thirds of dogs handed in to pounds and dog wardens had the correct details on their chips too.
Claire Horton from Battersea said: “Sable’s story spells out the importance of microchipping and Battersea’s new report shows there’s a lot more work to do to ensure pet dogs are all microchipped.
“It is a simple, painless procedure and many Local Authorities and rescue centres, including Battersea, offer it free of charge to all dog owners.
“It could save you and your dog heartache and distress – without Sable’s microchip, we would never have been able to reunite her with her owners.”
Another survey by The Vet group found the top reason for failing to microchip pets was that they were ‘too well behaved.’
They quizzed 1,000 dog owners and found one in four said they did not know it was a legal requirement, while almost 14 per cent said they simply didn’t want to.
Older owners were more likely to comply with the law, with 90 per cent of over 45s ensuring their dogs could find their way home.
The least responsible were those aged 25-34 with one in four not bothering with microchips and 12 per cent of the same age range said contact details were out of date.