Pennsylvania Targets At-Home Dog Ear Cropping

New law makes it illegal for owners to perform certain medical procedures on their dogs.

Posted: September 9, 2009, 5 a.m. EDT

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell on Aug. 27 signed House Bill 39, which establishes penalties for dog owners who perform certain medical procedures.

Under the new law, the following procedures can only be performed by a trained and licensed veterinarian:

  • Cropping, trimming or cutting off an ear;
  • Debarking by cutting or injuring the vocal cords;
  • Docking or cutting off the tail of a dog over five days of age;
  • Surgically birthing a dog; and
  • Removing the dewclaws from a dog over five days of age.

“HB 39 clearly defines painful and inhumane procedures on dogs by anyone other than a licensed vet as animal cruelty,” Gov. Rendell said. “Until now, these cruel practices could be carried out by dog owners without proper training and without supervision by a licensed vet, which could lead to long-term injury, pain and, in some cases, death to these defenseless animals.”

The dog’s owner must keep a record of the surgery, including the vet who performed it, as well as the location and date where the surgery was performed.

In addition, the law makes it a 3rd degree felony to steal an animal for the purpose of dogfighting.


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Marlene   Ontario, CA

4/4/2012 8:51:36 AM

I love the look of cropped ears, as a German Pinscher owner of 3 - I would never consider doing this proceedure at home. I ensure my K9's comfort b4, during and after any surgery. However with all the new legislation proposed against ear cropping I would expect to see more of this being done by the breeders. People should take this into account B4 telling us what we can and can't do with our dogs, especialy during the height cosmetic revolution. I completely agree with this legislation - it reinforces the humane treatment of our precious K9's.

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Isobella   Nashville, TN

9/10/2009 3:24:41 PM

Any surgical procedure should be done by a liscensed vet. I can't believe that anyone would consider doing this themselves. Plus, I think debarking is cruel. If you don't want to hear barking don't get a dog.

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Galadriel   Lothlorien, ME

9/9/2009 11:16:31 PM

I wish it were illegal to do any of this mutilation period. It's totally unecessary and cruel. But if they are going to allow it I don't see why owners and breeders can't do it themselves. Farmers castrate and dock their own animals.

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Josh   noyb, MN

9/9/2009 8:21:14 PM

Woah, using common sense, I already thought this was illegal!

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