Back in March, parliament debated changing the law to ensure that a standard procedure is followed when pets are hit by vehicles on UK roads. Under our constitution, all petitions with over 100,00 signatures must be debated at Westminster, and the call for Harvey’s Law attracted widespread support and media coverage at the time, resulting in 123,307 signatures.
Judy Devine’s pet poodle Harvey had run away after slipping his lead whilst visiting friends in Liverpool. Judy spent over £8,000 in subsequent weeks printing and distributing missing pet posters around the city; regularly travelling from her home city of Sheffield to search for him and raise awareness. Four months later she was told that his body had been found by the M62; heartbreakingly just twenty minutes after he had gone missing. Judy was determined that others should be spared the lengthy worry and uncertainty that she had endured, and so the campaign for a change in the law was launched.
The Harvey’s Law petition requested new legislation to ensure:
- Compulsory scanning of all domestic animals retrieved from the highways
- Reports to be filed and circulated to both Police and Dog Warden
- Photographs of the deceased pet to be held with the log report to be used for identification purposes
Until recently, highway workers were obliged to scan any pet found by the roadside in order to check for a microchip, and then contact the registered owner to inform them of the facts and make arrangement for the return of the body. However, as part of the government’s austerity measures, this mandatory scanning is being phased out.
Debating the petition, Transport Minister John Hayes said it was ‘absolutely essential’ that every possible measure was taken to identify domestic animals killed in road accidents and contact their owners. He told MPs: “I have therefore asked the Highways Agency to ensure that indeed they do collect and identify every animal that is killed and contact the owners by whatever practicable means” but stopped short of announcing any changes to the law.
Sadly this upsetting scenario may be very familiar to friends of The Ralph Site – our public Facebook page and private group page often feature similar stories. Aside from the obvious pain that the pet’s loss itself brings, the limbo of not knowing a pet’s fate and living half in hope that one day you may be reunited with a missing friend can be almost unbearable. Ensuring that your pet is microchipped at least makes identification possible should your pet be involved in a road accident – losing a beloved pet in this traumatic way is sadly very close to our hearts here at The Ralph Site. It was after the loss of Ralph in November 2010, who was microchipped, that our community was created; honouring all the animals that have touched the hearts of so many people and helping their carers through the dark times.
If you can relate to the stories of Harvey and Ralph, and you’d like emotional support and practical help in coming to terms with your feelings, our sister site features plenty of useful resources: The Ralph Site
You are never alone, and we wish you well.
Until next time, best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.