Networks of breeders have been illegally cutting dogs’ ears following a social media craze, it was reported last night.
The practice — also known as ‘clipping’ or ‘cropping’ — has been condemned for the risk of leaving dogs with health and behaviour issues.
Part of the ear flap is cut off, for cosmetic reasons, though it is illegal in the UK under the Animal Welfare Act.
In one case, a breeder tried to sell a puppy for £13,000 and offered a fake pet passport.
Part of the ear flap is cut off, for cosmetic reasons, though it is illegal in the UK under the Animal Welfare Act (File image)
Paula Boyden, from Dogs Trust, told BBC Wales: ‘Some animals then go on to develop infections or don’t like people touching their ears.
‘We’ve also seen behaviour issues because dogs communicate with their ears, and without them they may have difficulty in doing that with their owners or other dogs.’
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’s how you bought it, from an Irishman. It came from Europe and that’s all you know.
‘All of my dogs have been done by him and let’s just say as long as you get it done at the right age, it looks 10 out of 10.’
Daniella Dos Santos, former president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), 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’s all for status. There are no health benefits to these dogs at all.’
Daniella Dos Santos, former president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), told BBC Wales: ‘Cropping of ears is an illegal mutilation is done for no other reason than cosmetic reasons (File image)
She added: ‘The reason this is happening is because there is a loophole that allows the importation of dogs with cropped ears, and that’s just acting as a smokescreen clearly for it happening in the UK.’
Images of cropped-eared dogs have appeared on social media, including footballers and celebrities.
Vanessa Waddon, from dog rescue charity Hope, told BBC Wales: ‘Whenever celebrities post things online, people inevitably think ‘oh that dog looks nice maybe I’ll get one like that.
‘While [the celebrities] may have imported the dogs legally, there are people cropping illegally in the UK to meet demand.’
Representatives for Mr Rashford, Ms Pinnock and Mr Fincham did not respond to requests for comment from BBC Wales.