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RSPCA demands stricter measures as illegal ear cropping persists in Wales

RSPCA Cymru has received 79 reports from Wales since 2020 and is now pushing for firmer action against the inhumane procedure of dog ear cropping, as the number of harmed pups rises in Welsh rescues.

Today, the RSPCA revealed that over the past three years, around 1,100 dogs have endured the brutal and superfluous ear cropping procedure, with 79 cases emanating from Wales.

The animal welfare organisation has collaborated with the Llanharan-based charity, Hope Rescue – currently tending to eight dogs with cropped ears – for their ‘Mutilated for Money’ campaign. This initiative seeks to educate the public about the legal implications surrounding ear cropping and the potential health issues it inflicts upon pets. Impressively, over 13,000 individuals from both Wales and England have backed this movement, which also aims to close the legal gap that permits the import of dogs with cropped ears.

These unsettling statistics were disclosed as part of the RSPCA’s ‘Cancel Out Cruelty’ campaign to amplify awareness against animal cruelty. Often, ear cropping is illicitly executed in the UK to impart a ‘tough’ appearance on dogs.

Dr Samantha Gaines, the RSPCA’s dog welfare specialist, remarked, “Ear cropping is an agonising and nonessential act where a dog’s ears are either amputated or surgically modified. Regrettably, many owners opt for this due to the perceived glamour or to give their pet a fearsome look.”

“However, this act compromises their health, behaviour, and overall well-being. In the UK, it’s frequently conducted unlawfully by non-veterinary personnel, causing immense suffering.”

Despite its illegality in the UK, certain social media platforms inadvertently endorse the procedure.

Dr Gaines further expressed, “We vehemently oppose the normalisation of this savage procedure. There’s growing concern about its trendy appeal, and it must be curbed.”

Last month, Hope Rescue sheltered a stray Bully-type dog named Bumblebee, who was discovered with infected cropped ears.

Vanessa Waddon, head of operations at Hope Rescue, shared, “Poor Bumblebee has faced numerous hardships, from infected ears to overbreeding. Fortunately, under our care, she’s blossoming and ready for a permanent home.”

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Regrettably, Hope Rescue encounters at least one stray dog with cropped ears monthly.

Ian Briggs, who leads the RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit investigating ear cropping, described witnessing grisly DIY ear cropping kits. He stated, “The mere thought of individuals severing a dog’s ears sans pain relief or anaesthetic is revolting. What’s more distressing is their motivations – a misplaced sense of aesthetics or monetary gain.”

Illegal Ear Cropping Persists in the UK

Though ear cropping remains illegal in the UK, it’s shockingly lawful to import cropped-eared dogs. This ambiguity provides a cover for individuals to acquire such dogs from overseas.

Despite the UK Government’s earlier promise to prohibit cropped-eared dog imports through its Kept Animals Bill, the plan was unfortunately abandoned. This prompted urgent calls from the RSPCA for an alternative solution.

The Welsh Government had intentions of backing the Kept Animals Bill. But with the bill’s withdrawal, the next steps for Wales remain unclear.

Last year, a Statement of Opinion in the Welsh Parliament, supported by RSPCA Cymru and endorsed by members of all main parties, emphasised the pressing issue of ear cropping in Wales.

For more information on the campaign, refer to the ‘Mutilated for Money’ webpage.

To learn about adopting Bumblebee, please visit: https://www.hoperescue.org.uk/dogs-for-adoption

To assist the RSPCA in their endeavours this summer, visit: www.rspca.org.uk/cruelty.