A dog who underwent a hideous DIY home ear crop is looking for a loving home after she was found abandoned and suffering an extreme case of mastitis. As more reports about ear cropping are being made, experts at the RSPCA are concerned that social media and celebrity culture is causing the ‘look’ to become more popular.

Ear cropping is a cruel and completely unnecessary process where part or all of the ear is removed, sometimes using scissors and knives. It is illegal in England & Wales under the Animal Welfare Act. But the RSPCA is receiving more reports of dogs having their ears removed and is seeing more dogs with cropped ears arriving at its centres.

It’s not uncommon to come across images of ‘bully breeds’ with cropped ears shared on social media – especially from the USA and in Europe where the practice is legal or unregulated in many states/countries. The posts accumulate thousands of likes, often by people who don’t realise how cruel the cosmetic alteration is. Celebrity culture also has a part to play in the popularity of ear cropping as well as an increase in bull breeds used in advertising.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said, “Ear cropping is a process where ears are removed or surgically altered, usually for the purposes of appearance. It’s a painful and wholly unnecessary process which does not benefit the dog in any way and can, in fact, be detrimental to their health, behaviour and welfare. We do not believe dogs should be mutilated for cosmetic purposes and we’d urge people not to buy a dog with cropped ears as – whether the process was carried out here or overseas – they still will have undergone this very painful process.”

A two-year-old American bulldog cross, Millie, was rescued by staff at the RSPCA’s Godshill Animal Centre, on the Isle of Wight, in June after she spent a week with the dog warden having been found wandering in a rural area. Her ears had been hideously cropped and she was suffering from mastitis (inflammation of the mammary gland due to an infection).

Manager Suzanne Pugh said,“We believe Millie had given birth before being abandoned and she was suffering from an extreme case of mastitis. She was also extremely emaciated and had endured a hideous home ear crop. She needed immediate vet care to help with the pain and discomfort and to try to improve her weight.

“She initially adapted well to her new surroundings in the shelter and we quickly gained her trust. She also made a good recovery from the mastitis but we’ve not been able to spay her due to some ongoing medical issues for which she’s still receiving veterinary treatment.”

The charity is now looking for a home for Millie where she will be safe, loved and never hurt again. Suzanne added, “Our kennel was quieter when she arrived which enabled us to support Millie’s emotional health and well-being better. However, we recently took in 65 dogs and, as you can imagine, this means the sound, sights, smells and overall disturbance has dramatically increased. She’s found this really stressful and her emotional health is deteriorating and Millie really deserves this chance.”

Millie loves meeting new people and enjoys all the fuss and attention that she receives. She’s young and active and – as she’s quite large – staff caring for her feel she’d be best going to an adult-only home with experienced dog owners who can help her grow. She’d benefit from training and needs teaching that it isn’t scary being left home alone. She’d be best suited to being the only pet in the home as she’s always on the go and loves lots of attention.

Staff have been working with Millie to help her cope in kennels but are desperate to find her the paw-fect home. For more information about Millie visit her online profile or contact RSPCA Isle of Wight branch on reception@rspca-isleofwight.org.uk or 01983 840287.

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