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Scottish SPCA supports the #CutTheCrop campaign

12 Mar 2021 | Mike Flynn


Chief superintendent of the Scottish SPCA, Mike Flynn, reminds vets in Scotland that all incidents of ear cropping can be reported to the Scottish SPCA’s confidential animal helpline.

Scottish SPCA supports the #CutTheCrop campaign Image

Ear cropping is a purely superficial procedure that is illegal to carry out in the UK. A focus of the Scottish SPCA’s 2021 Manifesto is to support an outright ban on the import of dogs with cropped ears, and 76% of the Scottish public agree.

In previous decades, dogs with cropped ears were seen as a status symbol by those associated with dog fighting. Unfortunately, this outdated attitude is still upheld by some to this day.

In 2019, we received 31 calls to our helpline regarding illegal cropping. In 2020, 39 calls were taken. We carried out 32 investigations in 2020 and 25 the year before.

We helped to successfully prosecute a couple, Dawn and Louise Hillbeck, who permitted their dog, an American bully called Russia, to have her ears cropped.

Russia was just weeks old when her ears were cropped. When we rescued her, Russia’s ear flaps had been freshly removed and her ears were swollen and infected.

It was clear the surgery had not been carried out by a vet.  She had been stitched up with fishing line. She would have been in a lot of pain because of this procedure.

Russia’s owners, the Hillbecks, were banned from dealing or trading dogs for five years following our investigation. They were also issued with 80 hours unpaid work and random home checks for one year.

More recently, a vet in the west of Scotland notified us of a dog with its ears freshly cropped. The pup arrived with badly mutilated ears which had led to an infection. The vet became concerned for the welfare of the animal and contacted our helpline. It is believed that the surgery had been carried out in the UK as the pup was too young to have been imported in such a state. Enquiries into this incident are ongoing.

Ear cropping is a barbaric procedure that remains illegal in the UK. That is why we fully endorse the #CutTheCrop campaign. We would like to highlight to all vets in Scotland that they can notify the SSPCA about any incidents of ear cropping. Cases can be reported to our confidential animal helpline at 03000 999 999 due to the illegal nature of the procedure and the welfare issues surrounding the surgery.


Support our #CutTheCrop petition calling on the Government to close the legal loopholes that allow the ear cropping trend to continue. 


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