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Featured Image Credit: Instagram/joeyessex / Instagram/thatvetsean
The former The Only Way is Essex star, 32, shared an picture on social media of a Doberman he was planning to adopt, announcing that the puppy was the ‘newest member ‘ of the family.
Once the Facebook and Instagram post made its way onto people’s feeds, the reality TV star was called out after they noticed what appeared to be cropped ears.
The British Veterinary Association wrote: "We're disappointed to see yet another celebrity, Joey Essex, buying a cropped-ear dog. Ear cropping is a painful and unnecessary mutilation done purely for fashion."
Although ear cropping is illegal in England and Wales under Section 5 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it's still a relatively common practice among certain dog owners and breeders.
The painful procedure is done for cosmetic reasons and there are no health benefits, despite myths suggesting it may improve hearing or prevent ear infections.
According to the RSPCA, the procedure ‘can cause life-long health and behaviour problems’. Dog behaviourist Jordan Shelley, director at the FOAL (Focus On Animal Law) group, previously told Tyla that the ears are cropped to make certain breeds look more aggressive.
Joey was ‘horrified’ after being made aware of the condition of the Doberman’s ears and has now decided to forego the adoption in case doing so would ‘justify’ the procedure.
“I really wanted to give the dog a home, I fell in love with him,” Joey told Mail Online.
“But me taking him on as a pet would justify this cruel procedure, which will give the wrong message to my fans and followers.”
He added: “I’m an animal lover.”
In an effort to combat ear cropping affecting more dogs, Joey urged his 1.8 million followers to sign his Kept Animals Bill petition to make importing dogs with cropped ears into the UK illegal.
The petition had more than 62,000 signatures at the time of writing.
Joey is not the first celebrity to face criticism for ear cropping. In March 2021, Love Island's Jack Fincham spoke out about his dog Elvis, who has cropped ears after backlash from fans. Watch the video below:
In December 2020 Jordan Banjo from Diversity was called out for buying dogs with cropped ears. He responded to the backlash on social media in an Instagram Story.
"I can't pretend to have known all of the information on cropped ears," he said. "I don't even want to pretend to be misinformed, to be blunt I didn't even think about it in the first instance."
He added: "I didn't get his ears cut, I didn't even import him, first time I saw Serg he was six months old."
Singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock also faced criticism when her American Bulldog Kyro, who appears to have cropped ears, was shown in the 2021 BBC Three documentary Race, Pop & Power.