Mutilated puppy to lose ears after ‘worst case’ of illegal cropping

A mutilated puppy will have to have her ears amputated after the ‘worst case’ of illegal cropping that a charity has seen in the UK. Young Martha’s ears had become badly infected after the botched practice when Cheddleton-based charity Dobermann Rescue UK took her in this week.

They rushed her to a vet but as the tissue had already died the ears couldn’t be saved. She will have surgery tomorrow (March 18) to remove the damaged tissue.

The charity is now looking after Martha after she was collected from her previous owner in Manchester, who was unable to care for her, and has launched an appeal to raise money towards her vet’s bills. Kind-hearted dog lovers have already raised almost £1,500 to help care for the poorly pup.

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Despite her ordeal, staff at Dobermann Rescue UK describe her as “an absolute sweetheart” and say she is responding well to their care. At just four-to five-months-old Martha – whose tail has also been cropped – is too young to live in the organization’s Bucknall kennels so she is currently being looked after at home by rescue chair Liz Price.

She will eventually be re-homed with a new family when she is well enough and has been signed off by the vet. She will have to wear a headband when she goes out in bad weather for the rest of her life to protect the exposed holes where her ears should be.

Liz, who has three Dobermanns of her own, said: “I knew as soon as I saw her that her ears wouldn’t be able to be saved. Even my vet was shocked. Martha would have been in agony but at least now the tissue is dead that will have subsidized.

“This is the worst case of cropping that I have seen in the UK. We don’t really know what happened to her other than somebody cut her ears and they got infected.

“She is an absolute sweetheart and a typical puppy. She is learning commands nicely and I have been house-training her. She is a lovely, sweet puppy and is young enough that she will come through this. I don’t know what would have happened to her if we hadn’t rescued her. We got to her at the right time.”

Ear cropping and tail docking is illegal in the UK and in many European countries unless it is carried out by a veterinary surgeon for medical reasons.

But Liz says her rescue is seeing increasing numbers of dogs which have been imported from abroad to cope with the rising demand for cropped and docked animals as “status symbols”.

She said: “We have seen a rise in docked and cropped dogs being imported over the past two years. People, often in their twenties, are paying £2,000 to £6,000 to use these dogs as status symbols and don’t really know how to look after them.

“People are buying them from puppy farms in Eastern Europe just because they think they look tough. It’s ridiculous.

“Dobermanns are a fantastic breed and they are so loving and loyal, but you have bring them up well. Unfortunately there are many people who sees dogs as a possession rather than a living creature.

“I want to urge people not to buy docked and cropped dogs and to think carefully about why they want one. I would also ask people to be understanding and not abuse owners of docked and cropped dogs in the street, because they may well have adopted their pet from a rescue.”

The RSPCA launched a crackdown on ear cropping last week after recording the highest number of complaints relating to the illegal practice in 2021 since records began in 2015. The charity said it had seen a 1,243 per cent increase in number of reports of illegal mutilation of dogs ‘ears between 2015 and 2021.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Ear cropping has been illegal in the UK for a long time; and for good reason. It’s a barbaric, painful procedure that is carried out purely to achieve a desired look and to make a dog appear tougher.

“However, removing a dog’s ears can have serious, lifelong implications for that dog. Dogs who have come into our care having had their ears brutally cut off – usually without anesthetic or pain relief – are often nervous around people and sudden movements, may struggle to socialize with other dogs and humans, and can be head-shy.”

Anyone who would like to contribute to Martha’s veterinary care can do so on Dobermann Rescue UK’s Facebook page.

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