Ear Cropping Controversy in Vermont


Senator Ann Cummings has introduced S250, a Vermont bill to prohibit the cropping of dog’s ears. Violators would face a civil penalty of up to $3,000 for a first offense and, those who commit subsequent violations or who perform the procedure without anesthesia, would face criminal charges. The bill would not prohibit owning, showing, buying or selling a dog with cropped ears and licensed veterinarians would be permitted to perform ear cropping procedures, but only for “therapeutic purposes.”

According to S250, prevention of ear infections will not be considered therapeutic.
The process of ear cropping, as well as tail docking and the removal of dew claws, originated as a means of preventing injury to working dogs. Hundreds of years ago, dog owners removed these parts from the puppies’ ears and tails so that, as the puppy grew, they would not become snagged or torn while the dog was hunting or working. Dewclaws (the rudimentary 5th toes on the inside of a dog’s ankle) were commonly removed for the same reasons. Dogs raised for the purpose of fighting had their ears and tails removed so that the loose appendages from making convenient grips for their opponents teeth.

During the early days of this practice, the ears were cropped very short and often in a very clumsy and haphazard fashion. With the development of anesthesia, however, cropping techniques could become more artistic and sophisticated, flattering the dogs while the puppy slept. More time could be taken with the process, developing certain lines and shapes that accented the dog?s features.

In these modern times, the practice of altering ears and tails is continued merely for tradition?s sake, rather than for any real degree of need. Considered much like a form of canine cosmetic surgery, these operations are elective and considered, by many, to be cruelly unnecessary. Some breeders will argue that the cropped ears are necessary, in order to prevent ear infection, and that it benefit?s the dog?s health. Also, if you plan to show your dog, some breed standards (such as Doberman Pinschers, Min Pins, Boxers, and Great Danes) prefer the animals to have cropped ears.


About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).

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