Butchered for fashion: Battersea reports a worrying increase in dogs with cropped ears

08 MARCH 2021

Leading animal rescue Battersea is calling on the Government to close loopholes in the law, as the charity revealed it saw a 200% increase in the number of dogs with cropped ears come through its gates in 2020.

Ear cropping has been banned in the UK since 2006 but there are no regulations on dogs being imported from overseas with cropped ears - something Battersea believes is normalising the horrifying mutilation and acting as a smokescreen for breeders and owners in the UK who continue this illegal practice.

Shaun Opperman, Veterinary Director at Battersea, said: “Ear cropping is a horribly painful procedure, usually done without anaesthesia, that involves cutting off the floppy part of a puppy’s ear. It can lead to lifelong welfare problems and infections – there really isn’t any medical reason to do it, it’s just a cosmetic operation.

“The type of dogs that Battersea takes in really holds up a mirror to society and reflects pet trends. Although the overall number of dogs with cropped ears is small in comparison to our entire intake, we’ve seen a sharp increase in these kinds of dogs coming in. We also know high-profile social media stars are often showing off their own pets with cropped ears- it may not be their intention, but it goes a long way to turning this into a trend and might encourage others to buy dogs with this mutilation.”

In 2016, Battersea took in just one dog with cropped ears. Four years later in 2020, the charity saw 12 dogs with mutilated ears coming through their gates, many of which had been imported from Eastern Europe. Battersea has now joined a host of major veterinary bodies and animal welfare organisations across the UK backing a petition for the Government to address the gaps in the law allowing the practice to continue.

In one case, Battersea took in a young Mongrel puppy named Blossom who came into the charity with one ear missing after what appeared to be a botched attempt at cropping. Blossom needed extensive medical treatment after developing a serious infection as the result of the procedure. Following 87 days in Battersea’s expert care, she went on to find a loving new home.

Ear cropping is often practised on guarding breeds such as Mastiffs and Dobermanns and involves removing the floppy part of a puppy’s ears in order to achieve a tougher and more intimidating appearance. However, these dogs are often more docile than their looks would suggest and can make incredibly loving family pets.

Shaun Opperman continued: “Even the smallest loophole in the law is too big when it comes to the pain and suffering dogs endure through ear cropping. We’re appealing to the Government to address this issue as a matter of urgency.”

To find out more about Battersea’s work, visit battersea.org.uk and to view the petition, visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/574305.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • Battersea is committed to helping every dog and cat that needs us - championing their rights, loving their imperfections and expertly caring for them. Because rescue is our favourite breed.
  • We’re reliant on the generosity of the public to continue to fund our vital work helping dogs and cats and the people who care for them. To donate to Battersea, visit https://donate.battersea.org.uk.
  • Battersea directly helps thousands of dogs and cats across its three centres and uses its expertise, influence, and voice to help many more animals all over the country and across the world.
  • In addition to the site in South West London, Battersea also has two other centres based at Old Windsor, Berkshire and Brands Hatch, Kent.
  • Follow Battersea on Twitter @battersea_ or facebook.com/Battersea