Lancashire man and woman banned from dealing with animals after failing to treat puppy’s cropped ears
Andrew James King, 29, and Tayla Louise King 27, both of Thorne Street, Nelson, appeared at Burnley Crown Court on Monday, May 15.
They both pleaded guilty to one offence under the Animal Welfare Act in that they caused unnecessary suffering to a puppy by failing to seek prompt and effective veterinary treatment for the puppy’s cropped ears.
The court heard that on December 1, 2021, RSPCA special operation unit officers attended a police-led warrant at Thorne Street.
At the address they found a brown and white female puppy with cropped ears which still had the stitches present in each ear. She was estimated at the time to be 10-12 weeks old.
There were also two adult dogs with cropped ears along with a number of puppies.
In written evidence presented to the court from a vet who attended on the day, they said that the procedure on the puppy had been recent.
The vet said: “The cropping procedure appeared to have been carried out recently since the cut margins of the ear pinnae were scabby and still had surgical sutures in place.
“I palpated the ear pinnae which did not appear to be painful but on the basis that a clear cropping procedure had been carried out I issued a certificate pursuant to section 18 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 that in my opinion the animal was likely to suffer if those circumstances did not change.”
The court heard that the defendants said they had sold the puppy with ears a few days prior and it was returned a day later with cropped ears.
They admitted that they did not seek veterinary attention for the puppy.
This puppy was seized by the police and has since remained in RSPCA care and has been cared for by a foster carer for the past 16 months.
An order at the court will mean he can now be rehomed.
At sentencing they were both disqualified from any commercial dealings in animals for an indefinite period.
They were also handed a community order for one month, and a curfew requirement for one month between 8.30pm-5.30am.
Costs from central funds were also awarded to the RSPCA in the sum of £14,500.
RSPCA Chief Inspector Ian Muttit said: “We don’t know how this puppy came to have her ear cropped – a process where ears are removed or surgically altered – but veterinary treatment should have been sought immediately.
“Dogs should never be mutilated for cosmetic purposes and ear cropping can actually be detrimental to their health, behaviour and welfare.
“We’d urge people never to buy a dog with cropped ears and to report any concerns about ear cropping to the RSPCA by calling 0300 1234 999.”
Ear-cropping is illegal in the UK under the Animal Welfare Act unless it is carried out for medical reasons.
The practice is a painful cosmetic procedure in which part of the ear is cut off with a knife or razor blade to make the dogs look fiercer.