Veterinary Ireland, the representative body for veterinary practitioners in the State, has welcomed the signing in to law by Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, of the Ear-Cropping of Dogs Regulations 2023 (SI 412 of 2023).
From 1st September 2023, this legislation makes it an offence for a person to have in their possession, or under their control, a dog whose ears have been cropped after this date. It will also be an offence for a person (other than a listed charity) to sell or supply a dog with cropped ears. Other offences include selling equipment to crop a dog’s ears, or hosting events where dogs with cropped ears are shown. Those convicted of offences under this legislation can receive fines from Class A up to €250,000, and/or prison sentences up to 5 years.
The only exceptions are: if the dog has been imported into Ireland with cropped ears, and the owner/keeper has a valid import licence; where the new owner/keeper has rehomed the dog from a listed charity (currently ISPCA, DSPCA, Dogs Trust), and holds a written record that the dog had its ears cropped on rehoming; or where the owner/keeper holds a veterinary certificate indicating that the dog’s ears were cropped for veterinary purposes.
Veterinary Ireland considers ear-cropping unnecessary, causing pain, exposing the animal to risk, and does not benefit animal health or welfare, unless undertaken by a Veterinary Practitioner only for therapeutic reasons, and where appropriate anaesthesia and analgesia is utilised.
Veterinary Ireland has been calling for legislation to control ear cropping since the Animal Health and Welfare Bills’ passage through the Oireachtas. While the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 made it illegal to crop a dog’s ears, other than by a Veterinary Practitioner for the purposes of veterinary therapeutic treatment, loop-holes in the legislation have made it near impossible for the authorities to secure prosecutions against those cropping, owning or showing dogs that have had ear tissue removed for non-therapeutic reasons.
Veterinary Ireland’s opinion was that the only solution to these legal loop-holes was to introduce a Statutory Instrument (S.I.) to render it illegal to have in one’s possession a dog with cropped ears or to permit the showing of dogs with cropped ears. Veterinary Ireland, working with the DSPCA and ISPCA within the Advisory Council on Companion Animal Welfare (ACCAW), made this a priority for legislative change.
Veterinary Ireland wishes to congratulate Minister McConalogue on his signing in to law of SI 412 of 2023 (Ear-Cropping of Dogs Regulations 2023), and for the extended protections this legislation has put in place for the health and welfare of dogs in Ireland, to protect them from unjustified and needless mutilation.