Outrage as trend of dog breeders 'cropping' ears leaves animals with serious health issues
On December 13 it was reported that a network of breeders have been found cutting the ears of dogs illegally following a social media craze for the resulting 'look'. The practice of chopping off a dog's ears is called 'clipping' or 'cropping' and it leaves the dogs with significant health and behavioral issues.
In the process, the ear flap of a dog is cut off for purely cosmetic reasons. Cropped ears usually make a dog look more fierce and intimidating. Therefore breeds seen as attack dogs, like Pit bull, Doberman Pinscher, Boxer and Cane Corso, are often subject to such unnecessary ear clipping. The practice is illegal in the United Kingdom under the Animal Welfare Act. In one of the instances, a breeder tried to sell a puppy for $13,000 and even offered a fake passport for the dog after clipping its ears in the UK.
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Paula Boyden from the Dogs Trust told BBC Wales, "Some animals then go on to develop infections or do not like people touching their ears." She further added, "We have also seen behavioral issues because dogs communicate with their ears and without them, they may have difficulty in doing that with their owners or other dogs."
A breeder, Moheiz Adam, who tried to sell a puppy to an undercover BBC Wales journalist, said, "Another man just takes care of it, brings back the paperwork..If questions are asked you basically say that is how you bought it, from an Irishman. It came from Europe and that is all you know."
Further, he added, "All of my dogs have been done by him, and let us just say as long as you get it done at the right age, it looks 10 out of 10." The former president of the British Veterinary Association, Daniella Dos Santos, told BBC Wales, "Cropping of ears is an illegal mutilation is done for no other reason than...cosmetic reasons and the whole conversation throughout has been about how these dogs look. It is all for status. There are no health benefits to these dogs at all."
She also added, "The reason this is happening is because there is a loophole that allows the importation of dogs with cropped ears and that is just acting as a smokescreen clearly for it happening in the UK." Various footballers and celebrities have also shared photos of dogs with cropped ears which have been circulating on social media. A member of dog rescue charity hope, Vanessa Waddon, told BBC Wales, "Whenever celebrities post things online, people inevitably think 'oh that dog looks nice maybe I will get that one'." She added, "While the celebrities may have imported the dogs legally, there are people cropping illegally in the UK to meet demand."