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A man has received a 14-week jail sentence after confessing to paying £3,000 to have the ears on nine puppies cropped.
Ear cropping is illegal in England and Wales under Section 5 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The act stipulates it is illegal to crop the ears of a dog yourself or to send your dog to a vet abroad to have the procedure done.
The 29-year-old appeared at Bristol Magistrates' Court on Thursday 6th May to be sentenced after pleading guilty to one offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The RSPCA were alerted after a member of the public spotted puppies owned by Adam Malik, from Fishponds, Bristol in January.
RSPCA inspector Kimily Walters attended Malik's home and the police found a litter of nine 15-week-old bull breed puppies in a makeshift kennel area in his outhouse.
All of the puppies had their ears cropped recently, with Malik since admitting to paying £3,000 for someone to take the puppies away and crop their ears.
Kimily said: "A member of the public had contacted our cruelty line and was worried about the welfare of the dogs, reporting that a litter of puppies had had their ears cropped.
"I attended the home with police and Malik invited us inside. In one room of the outhouse there was a litter of nine 15-week-old bull breed puppies.
"They were all fast asleep, piled on top of each other in a makeshift kennel area. It was clean and tidy and the puppies appeared in good condition but had all had their ears cropped. Their ears were red, crusty and had not yet healed.
"He told me he had bred the puppies and that he owned their mother, Xena, and father, Pablo. Both dogs were outside along with a third, an eight-month-old called Skittles who he explained he'd also bred.
"Pablo also had cropped ears and Malik explained that he'd been cropped before buying him and importing him from overseas."
The court heard that he intended to sell the puppies and that they'd received no pain relief following the procedures until they were taken into RSPCA care around three weeks later.
Malik has been sentenced to 14 weeks custody and is disqualified from keeping dogs for 15 years.
At sentencing, magistrates said: "You arranged for the puppies to be cropped through someone you didn't know... [they] were given no pain relief.
"The puppies continued to suffer pain and wound infection and you must have known they were suffering, and they continued to suffer. They saw no vet and it was all for commercial gain.
"You have no licence to breed these dogs. We can only order custody as the offence is so serious."
Another dog-mum and her 12 four-week-old puppies were ground being kept in a shower cubicle in Malik's home.
Police seized all 13 dogs as well as Skittles and the nine cropped puppies went into RSPCA care before going to foster homes.
Foster families will now be able to adopt them.
Kimily added: "Many of these pups have had ongoing problems caused by their cropped ears, including recurrent infections. One, Zeus, needed an operation because two of the staples, used to seal the wound after the procedure, had become embedded inside his right ear.
"Thankfully they're all now in wonderful foster homes and, hopefully, in time, they'll be able to forget about the awful experience they endured all in the name of looks."
In recent months several celebrities have been criticised for owning dogs with cropped ears. Last week, boxer and Strictly Come Dancing star Nicola Adams faced backlash for owning an American bulldog with cropped ears.
Love Island's Jack Fincham has also faced controversy because his Cane Corso Elvis has cropped ears. Diversity's Jordan Banjo released a lengthy Instagram statement after fans noticed that his dog Sergio had cropped ears.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines explained why ear cropping is damaging to a dog's health and behaviour: "Ear cropping is a painful process which is carried out purely for cosmetic reasons and is often done to make a dog look more intimidating.
"It can, however, have lifelong implications on the dog's health and behaviour.
She added: "Dogs can suffer from infected wounds as well as chronic ear infections, while some may remain incredibly sensitive and head shy for their whole lives.
"Dogs use their ears to communicate with other dogs and with humans and some cropped dogs coming into our care have demonstrated behavioural problems caused by an inability to do this normally."
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