RSPCA warning over 'celeb craze' after Plymouth puppy has ears cut off

The dog, called Riot, had its ears cut off - a practice the RSPCA fears some celebrities have encouraged. Credit: Plymouth Live

The RSPCA is warning of a possible new ‘celebrity craze’ after seizing a dog in Plymouth which had had its ears cut off.

Dog breeder Michael Dawson was caught with the American pocket bully-type bitch during a police raid at his home.

The tan and white dog, called Riot, was found in a crate in the garden with cropped ears.

Riot was subsequently seized by the RSPCA and been re-homed, while Dawson was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge following a hearing at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court.

Riot was seized following a police raid. Credit: Plymouth Live

But the 49-year-old was not banned from keeping animals after telling magistrates breeding dogs was his only source of income.

He pleaded guilty to permitting another person to perform a prohibited procedure or failing to protect a protected animal in June 2019.

A fact-finding hearing was heard to establish the chain of events.

He told the court he had bought the puppy from a Scottish breeder for £5,000.

Dawson said he bought Riot for £5,000 from a Scottish breeder. Credit: Plymouth Live

The RSPCA said Dawson told magistrates he had sent the dog away to meet a potential mate - and later returned with her ears cropped.

A vet who examined Riot found both of her ears had been surgically removed and still had the purple sutures and pink antibiotic spray.

An RSPCA spokesperson said Riot was taken into foster care when the raid on Dawson’s address was carried out.

Riot was signed over to the RSPCA in March 2020 and settled in well to her new home.

RSPCA spokesperson

The RSPCA said ear-cropping was on the increase despite being illegal.

It is allowed in America and other European countries.

The charity added people were encouraged by celebrities who had cropped dogs.

But the RSPCA says it is painful and unnecessary, affecting the way dogs hear and communicate.

Dawson was fined in November at the same court for having illegal veterinary medicines.

Dawson and his company, Element Bullys, admitted having five substances, including prescription-only antibiotic treatment for dogs.

It followed a raid under a search warrant by officials from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Both Dawson and the company, where he is the sole registered director, pleaded guilty to possession of unauthorised medicinal products in June last year.

Dawson was fined £265 and ordered to pay £85 costs and £30 victim surcharge.

Element Bullys Ltd, based at Faraday Mill Business Park in Cattedown, was fined £1,500, plus £150 victim surcharge.


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