Liverpool men in court for causing ‘unnecessary suffering’ to puppies

Two men have been given bans on keeping animals after they were found with two puppies who had both been subjected to cruel ear-cropping procedures.

Leslie Christopherson of Wavertree, and Calum Reid of Anfield, both admitted causing unnecessary suffering to two Bull breed puppies when they appeared before Liverpool Magistrates’s Court.

The court heard how the RSPCA were called to investigate after receiving a report from a concerned member of the public who said Christopherson was in possession of two puppies with cropped ears.

Ear-cropping is illegal in the UK under the Animal Welfare Act unless it is carried out for medical reasons. The practice is a painful cosmetic procedure in which part of the ear is cut off with a knife or razor blade to make the dogs look fiercer. 

Inspector Naomi Norris was sent to the address in Picton Road on 29 April and Christopherson showed her the grey male puppy called Blue and the female puppy called April.

Naomi said, “Both had cropped ears that looked quite freshly done. They were red and sore looking and I could see bits of stitching that just looked like cotton. There was something clumped around the ears, that he later told me was talcum powder and the ears appeared infected. (Pictured below)

“He confirmed there had been no veterinary treatment and said, ‘I know the ears are illegal, I’m looking after them for a mate.” He then identified Reid as the owner of the puppies.

Both dogs were seized by the police and they were taken for veterinary treatment at the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital where the ears were found to be painful and infected.

Naomi then visited Reid who said he had bought the dogs with their ears already cropped and told her he didn’t know the procedure was illegal.

An independent vet, who examined Blue and April told the court, “The tissues of the ear pinna are sensitive and surgical intervention will result in acute inflammation and an experience of pain for the animal.

“In my opinion, Blue and April have been caused to suffer as a consequence of having their ears cropped. Suffering will have been experienced by these animals via mechanisms of pain and irritation for a period of at least 5 days, possibly longer.”

As well as the two-year ban on keeping all animals Christopherson was also given an eight-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to do 20 rehabilitation days, 100 hours unpaid work and was fined £200 costs and £78 victim surcharge. 

Reid was given a three-year ban on keeping all animals and was given a one-year community order in which he must do 120 hours of unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation days, pay £250 costs and a £95 victim surcharge at the sentencing hearing on 18 November.

Naomi said, “The RSPCA is opposed to ear cropping – a process where ears are removed or surgically altered. It is painful, wholly unnecessary and often done only for the purposes of appearance. 

“Dogs should never be mutilated for cosmetic purposes and ear cropping can actually be detrimental to their health, behaviour and welfare.

“There’s a growing trend for cropped dogs among some celebrities and sadly we’re seeing more and more dogs with cropped ears on social media and advertising too. Celebrities have a responsibility to set a good example to their fans but we fear the cropped look is being normalised and even glamorised, particularly among certain breeds.

“We feel people in the public eye should not be endorsing a procedure that causes pain and suffering to dogs, whether it’s being carried out illegally in the UK or legally overseas. We’d urge celebrities to stop popularising this look and, instead, ask them to promote responsible dog ownership and champion good animal welfare.

“We’d urge people never to buy a dog with cropped ears and to report any concerns about ear cropping to the RSPCA by calling 0300 1234 999.”

Both Blue and April are now in the care of the  RSPCA and photographs show how they have now recovered from their ordeal. Both will be available for rehoming soon.

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