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Wicklow man pled guilty to permitting the cropping of a puppy’s ears

On Thursday 10th November 2016 in Bray District Court, a man pled guilty to an offence under S.16 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act of causing or permitting somebody to crop the puppy’s ears. The act states that a person shall not carry out or cause or permit another person to carry out an operation or procedure which involves interference with the sensitive tissue or the bone structure of the animal.

The case resulted from a visit made by ISPCA Chief Inspector Conor Dowling to a property in Co Wicklow on Monday 9th May 2016 in response to a complaint received about an American Pit Bull Terrier with cropped ears.

The court heard that the man described during interview how he purchased the dog as a puppy at a terrier dog show in Dublin and that, when purchasing the puppy from the seller, he was offered the option of having its ears cropped. He claimed that, not understanding the procedure involved, he opted for the ears to be cropped.   

The man also told Inspector Dowling that he brought the puppy home for a few days and then returned it to the seller for final vaccinations and ear cropping.  He collected the puppy approximately two weeks later and his ears were cropped but had healed. He also claimed that all the meetings with the seller took place at the same location where the terrier dog show was held, near the Shelbourne Greyhound track. However, he was unable to provide the name or a detailed description of the seller.

The case was adjourned until 12th January 2017 by which time the man must pay €1230 in state costs and a donation of €500 to the ISPCA.

ISPCA Chief Inspector Dowling said:  “Some people continue to want to crop the ears of certain breeds of dogs for cosmetic purposes despite the obvious pain caused to the unfortunate animals involved. This case shows that choosing this course of action can have serious consequences and that ignorance of animal welfare legislation is not an acceptable excuse”.

Under S.16 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act, causing or permitting somebody to crop a dog’s ears.   The act states that a person shall not carry out, or cause or permit another person to carry out, on an animal, an operation or procedure which involves interference with, or the removal of, the sensitive tissue or the bone structure of the animal — (a) for a purpose other than veterinary treatment, unless the operation or procedure is carried out in accordance with — (i) animal health and welfare regulations, or (ii) regulations under section 54A (inserted by section 2 of the Veterinary Practice (Amendment) Act 2012) of the Veterinary Practice Act 2005, (b) for cosmetic reasons.

Members of the public should report animal welfare concerns to the ISPCA by contacting the National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515 or report online in confidence here.

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