Wicklow couple admits responsibility in having dogs' ears cut off

A Co. Wicklow couple fined €3,000 and banned for life from owning American Bully dogs after admitting their parts in having their pets' ears cut off.

A Co. Wicklow couple have been banned for life from owning American Bully dogs, fined a total of €3,000, and ordered to pay total costs of €3,486.55 after admitting their parts in having their pets’ ears cut off.

Person A of Rathnew, Co. Wicklow pleaded guilty to two offences under sections 11 and 12 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA) and Person B pleaded guilty to two offences under section 12 and one under section 16.

The two American Bully pups involved were discovered by ISPCA Chief Inspector Conor Dowling at the defendants’ house on 15th December 2021, when he responded to a report from a member of the public. Mr. Dowling told the court that it was apparent that the ears of the pups had been removed, leaving raw wounds that had been stitched with some form of twine, not medical thread. There was also a French Bulldog in the house for which there was no concern.

Chief Inspector Dowling described how Person B initially said that he had bought the pups with their ears cropped approximately a week before. But in a subsequent interview with Person A, Chief Inspector Dowling was told that they had the pups for three or four weeks and Person B had organised the cropping of the pups’ ears without Person A’s knowledge. The pups were initially seized and later surrendered. Both have been responsibly rehomed.

*images of graphic nature, and may cause upset*

Chief Inspector Dowling told the court that ear cropping is performed entirely for cosmetic reasons to achieve a desired look and does not benefit the dogs in any way. Describing the offence as “serious”, Judge David Kennedy commented that it was done “to make dogs look this way, an unnatural way”.

Person A was fined €500 with six months to pay, and Person B was fined a total of €2,500 with 12 months to pay. They were also ordered to jointly pay €1,026.55 ISPCA costs and €2,460 in prosecution costs. In addition, Judge Kennedy issued both parties with a lifetime disqualification order from owning American Bully dogs.

“Ear cropping is a barbaric mutilation” commented Chief Inspector Dowling, “the dogs on which it is inflicted are caused an incredible amount of pain during the procedure and its immediate aftermath. But they can experience life-long pain as a result, of having their ears cut off and it also affects their ability to communicate throughout their lives. It has become more prevalent in recent years with the rise in popularity of American Bullies, so much so that new legislation was introduced last autumn to put a stop to ear cropping in Ireland for good”.

*images of graphic nature, and may cause upset*

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