To Dock Or Not To Dock?

To Dock, To Crop…What’s the deal here!?

What is the purpose of a dog’s tail and ears? Surely they have a larger use than just for looking cute! Well, they do!

Tails:

  • Protection of genitalia
  • Balance
  • Expression
  • Communication
  • Steering
  • Warmth (breeds like Alaskan Malamutes cover their cold noses when they lay down)

Ears:

  • Hearing
  • Expression
  • Communication
  • Protection of ear canal from dirt, bug, water, and wind

So my first reaction to this is why dock or crop at all if there are so many uses/benefits for these two appendages? What is the other side of the story? There is a group called K9 Alliance who are strictly against the BAN of cropped ears and docked tails–in other words they do it and they want to keep doing it. Why? K9 Alliance states that cropped ears, docked tails and even dew claw removal are “done to preserve the function of the breeds”. They claim the main reason people oppose these procedures is because people believe breeders are only doing these procedures for cosmetic reasons and to protect the dog from injury. Well, personally I oppose these procedures because of infection; cruelty of the procedure (often does without anesthetic at very young ages); and because the removal of tails of ears will directly affect the purpose of these appendages.

The American Veterinary Medical Association states that “ear-cropping and tail-docking are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient. These procedures cause pain and distress and, as with all surgical procedures, are accompanied by inherent risks of anesthesia, blood loss, and infection. Therefore, veterinarians should counsel dog owners about these matters before agreeing to perform these surgeries.” and Dr. Gerry MacIntyre at the  Kootenay Veterinary Clinic also agrees that “…it’s a needless procedure. It’s a painful operation”. So why is it still not banned?

Well, according to a news article written in kamloopsnews.ca called “Here’s To Long Ears” “the Canadian Kennel Club does not support bans on ear cropping and tail docking, instead saying ‘it’s up to the individual breed clubs to set the standard.’ ‘Breeders of purebred dogs continue this practice for not only historical reasons but also to promote safety in performance activities and to promote hygienic animal husbandry,’ reads the CKC’s policy on ear cropping.

“Tail docking and dewclaw removal are performed for safety in field working breeds and for hygienic reasons in other breeds. They prevent injury and promote hygienic animal husbandry”.

Of course the CKC wouldn’t be Pro-Crop Ban otherwise they’d lose A LOT of memberships…I think these procedures need to be banned no matter what the “breed standard” says. The Labradoodle was never a breed and it snuck it’s way into the CKC’s recognized breed list so obviously they are somewhat open to modifying their ancient ways. If the CKC decided to change and suggest that these procedures do not benefit the breed standard then it would be way easier to have all of Canada change its policies. Until that day, check with your vet what their policies and standards are, write to your local, provincial, and federal governments and tell them you’re interested in change. That’s the best I can say at this point. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

 

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