Ban Cruel Cosmetic Procedures for Dogs


Target: Illinois Senator Terry Link

Goal: Ban cruel cosmetic procedures for dogs in Illinois

Newly proposed legislation in Illinois could ban all ear cropping and tail docking for dogs, the only exception being when it is absolutely medically necessary.  The bill is currently awaiting a second hearing in the Senate. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has already aided in the defeat of similar legislation in other states, but Senator Terry Link, the bill’s sponsor, will continue to push for the bill’s success. The ban would be the first law of its kind, keeping thousands of dogs safe from mutilation, and deserves our support.

A caudectomy (commonly known as docking) is performed by tying a ligature around the dog’s tail, which cuts off the blood supply. The tail then falls off after several days. Tails are also removed with clippers or surgical scissors. A pinnectomy (commonly known as cropping) is performed by cutting parts of ears to reshape the cartilage, either to make them more pointed or stand up. Docking commonly occurs when puppies are only one to four days old and cropping when under twelve weeks.

Similar bills have been proposed in California, New York, and Vermont in the last four years. Opposition from the AKC, which describes these mutilations as “breed standards,” led to the failure of all three bills when they reached the Senate Agriculture Committee. Similar legislation was also recently proposed in Pennsylvania, but the AKC has paid little attention to it because it does not ban these procedures, but rather, seeks to impose guidelines as to when and how they can be performed. A common misconception about cropping and docking is that only medical professionals can perform them. Because dogs are considered by state laws to be property, it is perfectly legal for individual owners to crop dogs’ ears or amputate their tails, even without proper equipment, a sterile environment, or anesthesia. “I have seen some really bad cropping,” said Adam Goldfarb of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), who described the results as “mangled, misshapen, or almost as buds on the head.”

Both the AKC and the Council for Docked Breeds (CDB) continue to argue that puppies do not experience pain shortly after birth, however, nearly every major association for veterinary medicine around the world, including the Australian Veterinarian Association, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, American Animal Hospital Association, Council of Europe Convention, and the 76,000-member American Veterinary Medical Association, has condemned these practices for their cruelty and barbarism.

“It is painful,” said Dr. Barbara Hodges, consulting veterinarian for the Humane Society Veterinarian Medical Association (HSVMA). It is not an accepted veterinarian belief “that puppies experience less pain than adult dogs,” she confirmed. “They may simply not be able to express this pain in the same manner that an older puppy would.” She also asserted that even in cases when anesthesia is used it isn’t worth the risk.

Several countries have already banned cosmetic procedures on animals and the experts confirm their cruelty and lack of necessity. Please sign the petition below and support a ban on cropping and docking in Illinois.


Dear Senator Link,

You recently proposed a bill that would ban cosmetic procedures for dogs, such as cropping and docking, in Illinois. The AKC has kept similar legislation from passing in recent years, despite the fact that several countries have already imposed bans and nearly every major veterinary organization around the world has condemned these practices.

Cropping and docking are cruel and unnecessary. Puppies are forced to endure incredible amounts of pain, blood loss, and multiple procedures that may not be completed for several months. No puppy should have to begin its life this way. I strongly support this bill and hope this will be the first step toward a nationwide ban.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: texasjeep via Flickr

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