Dogs killed on the roads must be returned to owners, ministers say

Campaign for “Harvey’s Law” to reunite pet owners with animals who die on the motorways is set to win backing from Conservative ministers, as Michael Dugher pledges Labour’s support.

Pet owners will be reunited with their dogs that have been killed on the roads in order to give grieving animal lovers “peace of mind”, under plans to be backed by MPs this week.

A campaign for the so-called “Harvey’s Law” – named after a poodle that went missing in 2013 – is calling for the Highways Agency to be required to scan animals found on the motorways for microchips which could locate their owners.

The campaigners say the Agency has been abandoning its duties to ensure that contractors working on the roads always seek to reunite missing or dead pets with their owners.

A petition calling for the new law has attracted more than 100,000 signatures and the proposal will be debated in Parliament on Monday, with transport minister John Hayes and Michael Dugher, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, expected to pledge their support for the new rules.

The roads minister, Mr Hayes, said: “Clearly when a dog dies on the road, it ought to be returned to its owner if at all possible.

“As the owner of two much loved pets myself, I understand the distress people suffer if their animal is lost and never found. I have instructed the Highways Agency to review its scanning policy to ensure greater consistency across the country.”

Mr Dugher said scanning and logging dogs killed on motorways would bring “real peace of mind to dog owners”.

“Scanning and logging dogs who have sadly been killed on our motorways is a simple procedure for the Highways Agency to undertake, but it makes such a big difference to people,” he said.

“Britain is a nation of dog lovers and ensuring the Highways Agency continues to implement these procedures will save untold heartache. Labour will act to ensure that ID checks are always done so that families can be informed if their dog is found dead.”

Ministers are expected to instruct the Highways Agency to conduct mandatory identification checks – for microchips which contain owners’ details – on the remains of pets found on the roads.

In 2013, a poodle called Harvey was killed on a motorway after he went missing during a visit to Liverpool. His distraught owner, Jude Devine, from Sheffield, only found out 13 weeks later that he had died and spent more than £8,000 leafleting thousands of people and even lived in a caravan to be close by to search the area.

A Highways Agency spokesman said: “Clearly it is very distressing when a dog dies on the road and we will always attempt to reunite a dog with its owner where possible.

“We are currently reviewing our approach to scanning as we want to ensure greater consistency.”

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