Craze for fashionable dog breeds leads to ‘mutilation’ procedure

A disturbing practice lies behind this increasingly popular look among puppies.

Cropping, or the practice of cutting off dogs’ ears, is illegal in the UK and some parts of the US. But a new BBC survey has found that the growing demand for dogs with the style is pushing breeders to perform the cosmetic procedure anyway.

To achieve what a breeder described to an undercover reporter as the “striking” look for dogs of the bully American breed, part of the ear flap is removed. The look may look adorable to some owners, but animal rights campaigners say the surgery can cause physical and psychological harm to dogs, hence its ban under UK Animal Welfare Law.

American bully dogs may be all the rage, but the procedure behind how their ears are shaped has animal rights activists worried.
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“Whenever celebrities post things online, people inevitably think, ‘Oh, that dog looks good. Maybe I’ll get one like this,’ said Vanessa Waddon of the charity Hope Rescue. She called out “Love Island’s” Jack Fincham, singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock and footballer Marcus Rashford as stars who posted images of dogs that appear to have their ears cut off. “While [the celebrities] may have imported the dogs legally, there are people farming illegally in the UK to meet demand.

American Bully dogs are celebrity favorites.
American Bully Dogs are celebrity favorites.
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In the United States, cultivation is illegal in nine states, and is only allowed by a “licensed veterinarian while the dog is under anesthesia” in Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, and New York. Pennsylvania, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

But the procedure is a “mutilation” done exclusively “for status.” There is no health benefit to these dogs,” former British Veterinary Association president Daniella Dos Santos told the BBC.

Farmers are performing the surgery in response to increased demand.
Farmers are performing the surgery in response to increased demand.
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“Some animals then develop infections or don’t like people touching their ears,” Paula Boyden of the Dogs Trust told the BBC about the consequences of ear cropping. “We’ve also seen behavioral issues as dogs communicate with their ears, and without them they can have difficulty communicating with their owners or other dogs.”