Is it illegal to have a dog with cropped ears? Here’s What to Do Next

Bottom line: Going to a vet for cropping can reduce your dogs risk of infection and give you the option of anesthesia — which may be required in a handful of states.

For many pet owners, “cropping” or surgically snipping a dogs ears can be a big decision.

Unlike many other countries, the U.S. government has not passed any law regulating the practice of cropping a dogs ears. Most laws regulating the treatment of animals as pets (i.e., not as livestock or research subjects) are left to the states.

Opponents of the practice argue that its unnecessary and inhumane, but is cropping a dogs ears illegal?

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) does not support claims that cropping ears serves to prevent medical issues in dogs, and the practice seems mostly to be for aesthetic purposes in certain pedigree breeds.

In five years, we’ve seen 236% more reports of ear cropping

rspca dog ear croppedSadly, the RSPCA is seeing increasing numbers of dogs coming into our care with cropped ears. In fact, weve seen a 236% increase in the number of reports of ear cropping during the last five years (178 reports in total between 2015-2019).

Dogs like Jess (pictured) are victims of these very reports. The two-year-old cane corso was saved by our rescue team earlier this year along with a litter of six pups.

Shed had her tail docked and her ears almost entirely removed. She was – unsurprisingly – incredibly wary of people and it took staff months to build up her confidence and ability to trust.

We fear increased numbers are being driven by dogs who are being sent abroad to have their ears cropped or who are being purchased and imported from countries where cropping is still legal.

15 Common Breeds With Docked Tails

The AKC recognizes 62 breeds with docked tails. Below are some of the most familiar breeds.

  • Australian Shepherd
  • Boxer
  • Brittany Spaniel
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Poodle
  • Rottweiler
  • Schnauzer
  • Wire-Haired Fox Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Is ear cropping GOOD or BAD for your dog? Should it be banned? VOTE NOW

    Stroud District Council’s Animal Welfare Officers have noticed increased sightings of dogs with cropped ears and docked tails. There have been five reported cases within the district in the last two months.

    Ear cropping and tail docking is illegal in the UK unless performed by a vet for medical reasons, and is referred to as ‘mutilation’ under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

    These practises are illegal in most European countries, including Romania and Bulgaria where some of the recent cases have been imported from.

    It is still legal in some countries but the Government recently announced that it plans to restrict the importation of dogs with cropped ears and docked tails under the New Animal Welfare Bill.

    Alex has recently been asked to join the Local Government Animal Welfare Group (LGAWG), which provides information for local authority teams as well as other animal welfare enforcers such as the police and RSPCA.

    This group seeks to raise the profile of animal welfare enforcement as well as sharing best practice and providing advice for those working with animals. The LGAWG operates with a core group of local authority officers who wish to be closely involved with any work around legislation and enforcement. They may also be working alongside Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs key stakeholders.

    If you see a dog with cropped ears and/or a docked tail, please contact us at 01453 766321 or [email protected] or the RSPCA at 0300 1234 999.