It’s About Time

A miniature Schnauzer with uncropped ears.
Keep your paws off my ears!

A breeder in Pennsylvania could face prison time and large fines if she’s convicted of the eight counts of felony animal cruelty she’s been charged with. This a year after earlier charges resulted in her being placed under “supervision.” The supervision was not sufficient to stop her from continuing her cruel practice — cropping the ears of puppies without any anesthesia or even antibiotics.

I find ear cropping and tail docking reprehensible. I know all the devotees of breeds where this is standard practice are going to howl in protest. Go ahead. It’s a vile, cruel practice. But if you insist on doing it, the very minimum you must do is have a veterinarian perform the procedure on puppies who have been anesthetized and who will receive proper follow-up care, including antibiotics and analgesics. To force puppies to endure this barbaric procedure without pain meds is unspeakably cruel.

Four of the counts against this monster are for torture. Torture. I’m pleasantly surprised that the state of Pennsylvania has such strong laws to protect these puppies — and that the laws are being enforced, at least in this case. I wish the rest of the country would follow suit. (According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Pennsylvania updated its cruelty laws in 2017.)

What’s even more nauseating is the outcry among breeders and “dog fancy” folks in support of the breeder — including the American Kennel Club.

Breed standards can change to eliminate requirements for cosmetic surgery. Allowing show dogs to retain their ears and tails does not interfere with their so-called genetic purity; it merely requires the humans who torture and profit from them to alter their ideas on what the dogs should look like. Many breeds’ appearance has changed drastically over the years due to selective breeding, and people have accepted and even embraced the changes. There’s no reason a show poodle can’t have a tail or a Schnauzer shouldn’t have ears. Whatever the historic justification for cropping and docking, it’s not relevant in the show ring or typical pet home. Owners and breeders of working dogs who may feel that the alterations serve a useful purpose can make that argument — and have a vet do the procedures. Nothing justifies the cruelty of unnecessary surgery on puppies who are “’crying and screaming’ without anesthesia while their ears were cut,” as described in a Washington Post article.

I hope this woman spends the rest of her miserable, cruel life in prison where she cannot hurt any more puppies.