The Scottish SPCA has reported a shocking increase in the illegal practice of ear cropping in dogs, with a rise of over 600% in calls related to this procedure in just six years. The organisation is now seeing more reports of “puppy butchers” who are charging up to £1,000 to mutilate the ears of small dogs, using scissors, kitchen knives and scalpels. The Daily Record reports that ear cropping has become more popular in recent years, partly due to celebrities posting photos of their pets on social media. This is despite the fact that the practice is illegal in the UK and has been classified as animal cruelty.
Ear cropping provides no benefits to dogs and can cause permanent damage to their ears, including an inability for them to stand properly, as well as possible infection. The procedure is often carried out without adequate anaesthetic at backstreet clinics, and can cause considerable pain and discomfort to the animals. Despite this, some dog owners are still willing to pay large sums of money to have their pets subjected to this cruel and unnecessary surgery.
The Scottish SPCA is working to raise awareness of this issue and is urging the public not to purchase dogs with cropped ears. They are also asking anyone with information about those who carry out ear cropping to come forward and report it to their confidential animal helpline. The RSPCA in England and Wales also has a confidential helpline for reporting animal cruelty.
The consequences of ear cropping can be severe. In one case, a dog owner in Glasgow was prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering to his dogs through failing to provide veterinary treatment for injuries caused by a prohibited procedure. The dogs were seized and the owner was given a two-year ban on keeping animals, as well as a 40-day restriction of liberty order. The wounds on the dogs’ ears were still in the stage of healing and caused them discomfort when touched. The inspector involved in the case described the illegal procedure as causing “considerable pain and discomfort, for purely cosmetic reasons.”
Another case involved a man who was given a 12-month ban on owning, keeping, or working with animals after he admitted allowing his dog’s ears to be cropped. He claimed he believed the procedure would make the pet less aggressive. However, ear cropping does not have any effect on a dog’s temperament, and can only cause unnecessary suffering.
The rise in ear cropping is a worrying trend, and one that needs to be addressed. Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn has warned that ear cropping is a needless cosmetic procedure that inflicts horrendous suffering on dogs, and serves no purpose other than to make the animal look a certain way. He urges the public not to purchase animals with cropped ears, and to report any information about those carrying out ear cropping procedures to the Scottish SPCA’s confidential animal helpline.
Ear cropping is a practice that originated in ancient civilizations, where it was used to protect dogs from predators or in hunting. However, over time it became a purely cosmetic procedure, carried out mainly in the US, where it remains legal in some states. In the UK, ear cropping was made illegal in 1898 under the Protection of Animals Act, which was later updated in the Animal Welfare Act of 2006.
The rise in ear cropping in recent years has been attributed to its popularity among celebrities, who have posted photos of their pets with cropped ears on social media. This has led to a trend of dog owners seeking to emulate their favourite celebrities by having their pets undergo the same procedure. However, the practice has been widely condemned by animal welfare organisations and veterinarians, who describe it as cruel, unnecessary and illegal.