Ear cropping is a surgical procedure that must be done by a licensed veterinarian. Nine states have specific laws regulating ear cropping, says the American Veterinary Medical Association. Ear cropping is illegal in many countries, particularly in European ones, New Zealand and Australia. It is illegal to even exhibit a dog with cropped ears in a dog show in the United Kingdom, reports the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.
The AVMA is formally opposed to cropping dogs' ears solely for cosmetic purposes. Individuals caught doing so without a veterinarian license are subject to arrest, as a case reported by 2News Tulsa demonstrates.
Ear cropping is done under full anesthesia on young puppies. The majority of the ear flap is cut off and then the ear is splinted and taped into an upright position. The ear is kept splinted and taped up for weeks in the hope the ear remains upright. Ear cropping isn't always successful in getting the ears to stand upright. The puppy is subjected to pain, risk of infection and sometimes a negative impact on behavior, says the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.
Some breeds traditionally used for dog fighting have what is called a "battle crop" performed where virtually the entire ear is cut off. This doesn't leave the inner ear any protection from insects or the elements, says BullyTree.