Recent developments have made it clear that we need to make a statement about an animal welfare issue which is causing us deep concern.

Ear cropping of dogs is a criminal offence in this country and for very good reason. This mutilation that is intended to give dogs a more aggressive appearance is painful and of not the slightest benefit to the animal.

It seems the only reason it is performed is fashion.

It is the most appalling example of shallow vanity to harm an animal just for appearances.

Several of us have been in practice for decades and until very recently none of us had ever seen an animal on which this mutilation had been performed.

Starting in recent years we began to see the occasional dogs apparently imported as a rescue animals from parts of Europe where the procedure is not banned.

In the last 12-18 months it has become obvious that the situation has changed. Social media posts and disappointing instagram influencers have begun to make it fashionable to own animals mutilated in this way.

We now see people looking to either buy dogs abroad that have been cropped or even take animals abroad to have them cropped and then bring them back. Most worryingly we have clear evidence that the procedure is now being carried out right on our doorstep by back street operators who will not be using anaesthesia or pain relief.

The increased importation of dogs with cropped ears provides a cover for the criminals looking to make money from the gullible and misguided who will pay huge sums for dogs damaged like this.

As a practice we feel we must make a stand before this hideous practice becomes normalised in the UK. We have the highest welfare standards and this abuse cannot be allowed to continue.

We want everyone to know that, although we cannot physically stop people circumventing the law, if we feel that someone has actively attempted to source a dog or puppy treated in this unnecessarily painful way we reserve the right to refuse to register that animal, it must become completely socially unacceptable to parade this cruelty on the streets of Britain.

We appreciate that some people have rescued imported animals treated this way with the very best of intentions. Unfortunately this has served to make it less obvious when criminal activity has taken place. We would discourage anyone from bringing an animal with cropped ears into the country so we can put an end to this practice here and move towards it being outlawed everywhere.

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