Breeders found to be illegally 'cropping' dogs' ears to follow social media trend started by celebrities
A BBC investigation found that some dog breeders are mutilating the ears of certain breeds, in order to follow a social media trend led by celebrities and influencers.
An undercover journalist contacted a number of dog breeders in Wales who had been advertising the sale of dogs with cropped ears online.
‘Cropping’ involves removing part or all of the external flaps of a dogs’ ear, which is a painful procedure and has no medical value, according to experts.
The practice of cropping is illegal in the UK, unless carried out for medical reasons.
Dog breeder Moheiz Adam offered to sell the BBC journalist a puppy with cropped ears for £13,000, and reportedly said it was "a shame" the practice was illegal as it gave dogs a "striking look".
According to the BBC, breeders are also forging pet passports, to make it look like the procedure was done legally abroad.
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, Mike Flynn, said, “It is illegal to crop a dog’s ears in the UK. In rare circumstances it may be carried out on veterinary grounds but this is exceptionally uncommon.
“Ear cropping is a cosmetic procedure. Other than altering a dog’s appearance, it has no benefit. In fact, it actually puts a dog more at risk of disease and infection in and around the ears. This painful procedure is often carried out on puppies when they are just a few weeks old.
“Sadly, the import of dogs with cropped ears is allowed. This means breeders – who are selling these dogs for thousands of pounds – import the dogs from abroad and then sell them in Scotland for a massive profit. A number of celebrities own dogs like this. The more and more people see of these dogs, the more normalised it becomes”.
Several public figures have been criticised for having dogs with clipped ears, such as footballer Marcus Rashford and Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock.
In their last manifesto, the Scottish SPCA called on Scottish parliamentary candidates to urge their parties to review legislation around the import of dogs with cropped ears.
Anyone who has concerns about ear cropping can call the Scottish SPCA’s confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.