Ear cropping involves trimming off part of a dog's ears, making them stand up rather than flop down. It was introduced by hunters who wanted to improve their working dog's performance and reduce injuries. For example, scenthounds would often get their ears caught on thorns and brambles when chasing prey.
But that was then. And now that our pups live a life of domestic bliss, there's no excuse for ear cropping. But some breeders and owners still crop puppy ears. Why? Because they think it makes dogs look cuter.
Ricky Gervais calls for an end to ear-cropping
And the real dog-people have had enough of this unnecessary practice. So that's why celebrity dog-lover Ricky Gervais decided to team up with the RSPCA to stop ear cropping once and for all.
Gervais signed a petition that calls on the government to close legal loopholes that allow owners and unscrupulous breeders to continue ear cropping unpunished.
Petitions with over 100,000 signatures automatically trigger a parliamentary debate. So far, this one has over 750,000!
But that debate needs to happen soon. The RSPCA has seen a 621% increase in ear cropping reports during the last six years.
Change is on the way
A couple from Warwickshire was recently disqualified from keeping animals for life after arranging ear cropping for their American Bully puppies.
The pair were also sentenced to 18-month community orders, including 100 hours of unpaid work and a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement. But many other people are still going unpunished. Thankfully, it looks like change is one the way. Let's hope it happens fast!
See also: Celebrities take part in virtual tea party to support Guide Dogs charity