More than a dozen dogs in Dorset have undergone a 'cruel and unnecessary' procedure in the last three years according to new figures.

Nationally more than 1,100 dogs are reported to have undergone a procedure of having their ears cropped in the last three years, new figures from the RSPCA show.

The animal welfare charity is releasing the figures as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign - to raise awareness about how to stop cruelty to animals for good - and to highlight the procedure which they say, in many cases, is carried out illegally in the UK solely for the aim of making the dog look 'tough'.

Dorset Echo: More than a dozen dogs in Dorset undergo 'cruel and unnecessary' procedure in past three years

The study found that in Dorset, the number of reported cases is 14.

The RSPCA say these figures are likely to be an underrepresentation of the actual number of dogs who are having their ears cropped as not all cases are reported to them, as some people may not realise that this isn’t a dog’s natural ear shape or that it is an illegal procedure in this country.

Dr Samantha Gaines, dog welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: “Ear cropping is a painful and unnecessary practice in which a dog’s ears are removed or surgically altered and sadly many owners who do this do it because they think the look is glamorous or it makes their pet look tough.

“But it can be detrimental, in the short and long term, to their health, behaviour and welfare - they do not benefit from having it done, and the way it is illegally carried out in the UK - by people who are not vet professionals - is highly likely to lead them to suffer.”

Dorset Echo:

Despite it being illegal in the UK, there are social media accounts which promote the practice.

Samantha added: “We don’t want this cruel procedure - which is essentially dogs being mutilated for money - to be normalised. We are concerned that it is a growing fashion trend and it needs to be stopped.”

Ian Muttitt, chief inspector in the RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit - which investigates ear cropping - said the team have seen 'horrific' DIY ear cropping kits at the homes of people who carry out the cruel practice. He said: “The idea of a person cutting off a dog’s ears with a pair of scissors and no pain relief or anaesthetic is stomach-churning - but that is exactly what they do. And it is even more sickening to know that they are only doing this because they think it will make the dog look ‘tough’ or they can sell the dog for more money.

“We have seen dogs who have suffered because of the aftereffects of this cruel procedure. They are at a high risk of infection and discomfort - what’s trendy or fashionable about that? Absolutely nothing.”

“It’s done purely for cosmetic purposes and sadly can lead to puppies being sold for much more money. We’d urge the public and anyone looking to buy a puppy to remember that this is an illegal procedure which has hugely negative impacts for the dogs themselves.”

Dorset Echo: