Estonian Infectious Animal Disease Control Act sets basis for animal identification. According to Estonian Infectious Animal Disease Control Act owners of animals are required to guarantee the identifiability of their domestic animals. The equipment for identification shall be issued at the expense of the keeper of animals.The methods of animal identification are the marking of animals, description of animals or determination of ownership of animals. The marking of an animal is the marking thereof with a permanent and unique artificial feature which permits identification of the animal. The description of animals for identification purposes is used for animals which it is impossible or impractical to mark. If it is impossible or impractical to mark animals and if a description cannot be prepared due to the close external similarity of the individuals of the animal species, animals shall be identified on the basis of ownership. For the purposes of identification on the basis of ownership, an animal is deemed to belong to the person in whose possession, including in whose enclosed territory, or in a structure or construction belonging to whom the animal is, unless a person interested in ownership of the animal proves otherwise. Therefor ESPAs interpretation of law is that every owner of dog in Estonia must guarantee dog´s identifiability and when to take into consideration the meaning of law the method of dog identification is the marking (permanent and unique artificial feature which permits identification of the dog). Dogs are not this group of animals who are impossible or impractical to mark so the identifiabilty could be guaranteed by description of dog. There are many stray dogs in Estonia and that is one of many circumstances why dogs can´t be considered to mark any other method than marking with permanent and unique artificial feature.
Estonian Infectious Animal Disease Control Act sets also basis for animal registration. Keepers of animals are required by law to maintain records concerning exclusively the farm animals kept, and register the animals in the state register. Local governments shall organise maintenance of records concerning dogs and where necessary, also of other household pets. Therefor state register is established only for farm animals and comprehensiv legal basis for registration are enforced also only for farm animals. Law allows every local government in Estonia (ca 230) to organise in their own way maintenance of records concerning dogs.
Because of insufficient legal basis every local government has established in their domain its own register and obliged dog owners to register their dogs in local registers. There is also a sole proprietor who offers for local governments statewide register service in cooperation with veterinarians. Some local goverments have joined with mentioned register, but still many governemnts operate with own register. Therefor there is no statewide register for dogs. In reality local registers do not work and supervision over local government regulations do not function - local governments has no recourse to control dog owners if they follow the regulations or not. . Despite the fact that law requires to the keeper of dogs to guarantee the identifiabilty of their dogs by marking many local governments have enacted rules where sufficient method of identification is a plate or number or name in dog´s collar. In a nutshell there has no statewide and comprehensiv registration and identification system and supervision do not function in Estonia - therefor there is no objectiv statistics or overview for number of dogs in Estonia, or percentage of people who comply with the requirements. Because of absents of statewide register and identification system the keeper of dogs can aband impunibly their pets and the number of stray animals grow.
Also there is no statistic data for number of stray dogs in Estonia. Every shelter has their own statistics about catched dogs, but there is no objective information about stray animals in Estonia.
What concerns the incentive for licensing/registration there is no governmental or state-aided stimuluses for dog owners to motivate to register and identify their dogs.
The registration and microchiping costs 300-500 EEK (19 EUR - 32 EUR). ESPA has no data for registration costs in local governments. Some local governments who have validated the obligation to microchipe dogs organise campaignes to enable for dog owners register and mark their dogs with lower costs.
+372 52 67 117 info[at]loomakaitse.ee