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Banfield Will No Longer Perform Tail Docking and Ear Cropping Procedures on Dogs

August 4th, 2009 3 comments

Banfield, The Pet Hospital, has announced that it will no longer perform the “unnecessary cosmetic procedures” of tail docking and ear cropping on dogs.

Quoted in USA Today, Banfield, the nation’s largest network of veterinary hospitals, stated:

After thoughtful consideration and reviewing medical research, we have determined it is in the best interest of the pets we treat, as well as the overall practice, to discontinue performing these unnecessary cosmetic procedures.

Tail docking and ear cropping are both common procedures that have become more controversial in recent years.  Tail docking involves cutting off most of the dog’s tail within a few days of the dog’s birth.  Tail docking is performed on many terrier and hunting breeds.

Doberman Pincher With Cropped Ears

Doberman Pinscher With Cropped Ears

Ear cropping consists of cutting a notch off of a dog’s floppy ear and bandaging it to force it into an upright “alert” looking position.  Ear cropping has been a popular procedure for many breeds, including Doberman pinschers, terriers, boxers and Great Danes.  Ear cropping is done when the puppy is between 12 and 14 weeks old.

The American Veterinary Medical Association passed a resolution last year opposing tail docking and ear cropping on dogs when performed solely for cosmetic purposes, and encouraging the elimination of docked tails and cropped ears as breed standards.

The AVMA’s efforts at eliminating these surgically created characteristics as breed standards, and the efforts of some state lawmakers around the country to outlaw tail docking and ear cropping, have been met with resistance by the American Kennel Club.  The AKC insists that the procedures “are acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character.”

Although the article in USA Today reports that Banfield has also discontinued performing devocalization procedures, Banfield’s own July 27 press release fails to mention that procedure.

So-called devocalization, a far less common procedure, involves the full or partial removal of a dog’s vocal chords.  Devocalization surgery is performed solely to prevent the dog from having the ability to bark or to “soften” the dog’s bark.  The procedure is almost always performed for the convenience of the owner.  Massachusetts lawmakers recently began considering a bill that would outlaw devocalization on dogs unless medically necessary.

Banfield, founded in 1955, has more than 700 veterinary clinics and over 2,000 veterinarians nationwide.   They can be contacted at internet.inquiries@banfield.net or by phone at 1-800-838-6738.

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Categories: Dogs in the News