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Furious Dog Owners in U.K. Fight Microchips for 'Weapon' Pets

Responsible pet lovers said they would be unfairly penalized by British government plans to crack down on "devil" dogs, The Sun reported Wednesday.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson faced a furious backlash after he unveiled proposals including compulsory insurance and microchip implants for all pooches.

He aimed to target thugs who increasingly use dogs such as rottweilers or illegally-kept pitbulls as weapons in turf wars. There were also several family tragedies, including the death last year of four-year-old John-Paul Massey, mauled by a pitbull at his grandmother's house in Liverpool, northen England.

Vicious animals, or "weapon" dogs, could be made subject to orders under which rogue owners would have to muzzle or neuter them — or face having them confiscated.

But law-abiding dog fans said they would have to fork out up to $745 for the insurance, aimed at ensuring compensation was paid to victims of attacks.

And the microchips, which would contain owner data and be used for tracking, could cost another $50. Up to eight millions dogs could be affected.

RSPCA spokesman Rob Harris said the problem of savage dogs should be addressed — but the government plans went too far.

"The announcement is a major step forward," he said.

"But the insurance scheme risks targeting the law-abiding owner rather than those causing the problems."

Caroline Davis, editor of Dogs Monthly magazine, said insurance would be costly and would not stop horrific attacks.

"Not everyone will comply with this idea anyway. The only difference will be that law-abiding owners will foot the bill for their uncaring counterparts," she said.

Davis also expressed concern that the additional cost would be prohibitively expensive for low-income families with dogs, calling the plans "knee-jerk" reactions and "not enforceable."

But Sam Hallow, whose two-year-old daughter needed 100 stitches after being attacked by a Staffordshire bull terrier, supported the plan.

"I'm all for the new measures. And dog owners having insurance against attacks is the most important of the controls.

"Luckily the dog which attacked Kira was insured, which made everything much less stressful than it could have been. It was hard enough trying to cope with what happened without battling over money as well," Hallow said.

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