"I am determined to put an end to this and ease the pressure on charities and councils to find new homes for these dogs. Microchipping is a simple solution that gives peace of mind to owners. It makes it easier to get their pet back if it strays and easier to trace if it is stolen. The generous support of Dogs Trust will mean that this valuable service can be offered for free to pet owners across the country."
Around 110,000 stray dogs are picked up by police, local authorities and animal welfare charities each year, with around half unable to be reunited with their owner because they cannot be identified. Around 6,000 dogs are put down each year, while strays cost the taxpayer and welfare charities £57 million a year.
Thousands of postal workers and hundreds of telecoms engineers are attacked by dogs every year, mainly on private property such as gardens, drives and private roads.
The RSPCA gave a cautious welcome to the news, but warned more preventative measures were needed to improve animal welfare.
David Bowles, head of public affairs, said: "Compulsory microchipping and extending the law to cover private property as well as public spaces is a welcome move. However, on their own we don't believe they will make owners more responsible or ensure fewer dogs bite people or other animals."