Illegal ear cropping in dogs on the rise in East Anglia

Illegal ear cropping in dogs on the rise in East Anglia
Celebrity dog breeder Simon Davis recently avoided jail for participating in the illegal practice. Picture: RSPCA

Norfolk and Suffolk RSPCA officers are concerned following a flurry of calls about ear cropping in the region. They say: ‘Please don’t buy dogs with cropped ears - it’s not normal!’

RSPCA officers in East Anglia are urging people not to buy dogs with cropped ears after a string of calls to the charity about the illegal practice.

The warning comes after a number of reports to the charity’s cruelty hotline of dogs with cropped ears and ‘bleeding, stitched up wounds’ coming in from Dereham and Diss, Norfolk, and Lowestoft in Suffolk.

In 2015, the RSPCA received 14 reports of ear cropping and cropped ears from across England and Wales. But, last year (2019), that had risen 236% to 47 reports.

And officers working across Norfolk and Suffolk said they’ve seen a flurry of calls in the last six months - having had very few in the past.

Local RSPCA inspector Dave Podmore said: “Ear cropping has been illegal in the UK for a long time and it’s not something that I’ve seen much of during my time working at the RSPCA.

“But in the last few months I’ve had a number of reports coming in from local people in Norfolk and Suffolk who have grown concerned after spotting dogs in the streets with cropped ears or after seeing puppies with bleeding, stitched up wounds on their ears.”

It is illegal, under Section 5 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, to crop a dog’s ears but the RSPCA fears that images shared on social media, especially from the USA and in Europe where the practice is legal or unregulated in many states/countries, celebrity culture and an increase in bull breeds seen in advertising is normalising the look and making it more popular.

Dave added: “I wanted to let people know that no matter a dog’s breed, this is not normal. Dogs aren’t born this way and there are absolutely no benefits to having their ears cropped. In fact, it’s a process that is extremely painful and barbaric, and can cause them health and behavioural problems throughout their lives.

“So please don’t support this awful practice and don’t buy a dog with cropped ears.”

An RSPCA spokesperson - from the charity’s Special Operations Unit, responsible for investigating serious and organised animal cruelty such as ear cropping - said: “We believe ear cropping is being carried out illegally in this country. And we also believe that many breeders, sellers and buyers are sending dogs abroad to have their ears cropped before bringing them back home.

“Anyone who is concerned that someone might be cropping dogs’ ears themselves or sending their dogs abroad to have the procedure done should report it to us by calling our 24-hour emergency hotline on 0300 1234 999.”