Help dogs keep their ears and tails

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With few exceptions, there is no medical reason for a dog’s tail to be amputated or its ears cropped. Certain breeds of dogs often have a short stump rather than a full, bushy tail. Other dogs may have erect ears while some in the same breed have flat ears. As puppies, their body parts were cut to meet cosmetic standards that are preferred by breeders. The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) states that it supports breeders who continue this practice and respects their freedom of choice.

Recently, Alberta veterinarians voted to ban unnecessary surgical procedures including tail docking and ear cropping. Alberta joins other veterinarian associations that have banned the practice including Quebec, B.C. and our Atlantic provinces. But many dogs are not protected in our country and that needs to change.

CKC suggests these bans may prompt people to cut dogs’ tails or ears themselves or travel to areas where it is still allowed. Breeders wouldn't attempt such back alley tactics if the CKC declared dogs with natural ears and tails as the standard rather than "allowed." This practice will continue among breeders until powerful associations like the CKC take a stand against dogs suffering unnecessary procedures.

Ear cropping is commonly seen among several breeds including Doberman Pinschers, Years ago, working dogs had their ears cut because there were concerns about hearing, but today’s decision to crop ears is appearance driven as the vast majority of cases involve pets. The same is true for tail docking, which is common in dozens of breeds, such as Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers and rottweilers. Working dogs had their tails amputated to prevent injury, but now most dogs are pets, which means this is an unnecessary painful procedure. There are exceptions, such as frostbite or injury, when tail docking is medically necessary. Additionally, docking a dog’s tail may actually interfere with the animal’s ability to communicate.

You can help put an end to this barbaric practice. Tell the CKC to do the right thing. They need to take the position that this practice is not acceptable and must end. Hundreds of veterinarians say it’s unnecessary and should stop. It is cruel to amputate a dog’s tail or crop ears for appearance purposes. We say we love our dogs and they are part of the family. Let’s prove it. (Wo) man’s best friend deserves better.