End Cruel Procedures on Pets by Non-Veterinarians!
According to their Statement on Companion Animals, The Humane Society of the United States “opposes cosmetic and other forms of surgery on animals when done solely for the convenience or pleasure of the owner and without appropriate benefit to the animal.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists both ear cropping and tail docking in their cruelty glossary, calling the procedures unnecessary and pointing out that these cosmetic surgeries are “often done by untrained individuals, without anesthesia, in unsterile environments.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association has also opposed ear cropping and tail docking when only used for cosmetic purposes with a variation of this policy ever since 1976, including attempting to remove these alterations as requirements from breed standards.
Banfield, the nation’s largest network of animal hospitals, decided to no longer perform procedures such as tail docking and ear cropping of dogs in their facilities back in 2009. Several countries have actually outlawed these practices completely, particularly in Europe.
The American Kennel Club defends the practice because it defines and preserves the breed character, enhances good health, and prevents injury. If you are unfamiliar with these practices, the Vernon County Humane Society did a good job of explaining the procedures of tail docking, ear cropping, and declawing in a newsletter in fall of 2004.
With all of the opposition against these surgeries, did you know that some animals are subjected to these procedures by the hands of non-professionals? These are called “backyard” or “home” surgeries where people with little or no experience, and definitely not the professional training, license, or certification, perform these surgeries on animals.
In March of 2010, KITV ran a story on a Pearl City man who was accused of performing ear-cropping and sterilization procedures on people’s pets but unfortunately was never prosecuted, in part due to our weak laws. In addition, its common practice that dogfighters perform “home ear crop jobs” on dogs used for illegal fighting, since ears are commonly ripped off during these bloody and cruel spectacles.
Because non-veterinarians do not have legal access to anesthesia, these procedures including ear cropping, tail docking, debarking, and declawing are extremely painful. Pets who are subjected to such cruel procedures can suffer from blood loss, shock, infection, or even death.
Our current state animal cruelty law allows ear cropping and tail docking; however, it does not require that they be performed by an actual veterinarian! Regardless of your personal opinion about these procedures, we must all agree that they should be done safely by a professional. The AKC supports these surgeries as standard, accepted, and safe practices and their policy is that appropriate veterinary care should be provided.
Please help improve our animal law by requiring these procedures to be performed by a professional. Senate Bill 8 will prohibit non-veterinarians from performing painful surgical procedures on pets. This bill is also supported by the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association.
What you can do is submit a testimony in support of this bill. Whether you are simply appalled that such treatment of animals can occur within our community or you have personal stories of a “home” job that you have witnessed, your voice matters!
The hearing for this bill is on Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 at 8:30 am at the Hawaii State Capitol at 415 South Beretania Street. It takes place in Conference Room 229 of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rosalyn Baker.
Even if you are unable to attend the hearing in person, you can submit your testimony online up to 24 hours prior to the start of the hearing to be considered. Just click on the blue button in the upper right of the page and complete the electronic form. You can even include pictures if you have them.
Thank you for your consideration in helping with this cause!
For more information about this controversial issue, you may refer to Cropping and Docking: A Discussion of the Controversy and the Role of Law in Preventing Unnecessary Cosmetic Surgery on Dogs from the Animal Legal & Historical Center, as well as a summary of the pros and cons of ear cropping and tail docking from the Dog Channel.