Great Debate: Should a ban on importing cropped dogs make exceptions for rescue dogs?

petition against cropped ears cropped dog
Staffordshire bull terrier Rocky's owner was prosecuted for removing his ears with knife.

Among the many provisions of the now defunct Kept Animals Bill, there was a ban the import of dogs with cropped ears. While cropping a dog’s ear is illegal both in the UK and across the EU, it is not uncommon for people who wish ‘tough-looking’ dogs to buy mutilated dogs abroad, or to use this loophole as a smokescreen to hide illegal mutilations carried out in the UK.

As the government has since pledged that the animal welfare provisions contained in the Kept Animal Bill will be brought forward as separate, smaller Bills, there is expectation that the ban on the import of cropped dogs may yet become law. However, one issue that is heavily dividing people’s opinions: what about rescue dogs from abroad who had their ears cropped prior to their rescue?

Those arguing for an exemption for rescue dogs say it would be unfair to deny these dogs the chance to find a happy home in Britain due to a mutilation they were subjected to.

However others, including MPs, feel that an exemption would leave a door open for people to smuggle the dogs in under the pretense of rescue, essentially failing to close the current loophole. For the greater good, they say, there should be no exemption.

What do you think – should a ban on importing cropped dogs in the UK make exceptions for rescue dogs? Tell us what you think here, on Facebook, or by writing to


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