Joey Essex has been praised by animal rights campaigners after he returned a Doberman puppy with cropped ears.
The British reality star said taking the dog in as a pet would “justify this cruel procedure.” He added that it would “give the wrong message to my fans and followers.”
“I really wanted to give the dog a home,” he told the Daily Mail. “I fell in love with him.” Essex also described himself as an “animal lover.”
PETA has supported Essex’s move. The organization praised him for deciding to not support the cruel practice of ear cropping.
“We applaud Joey for letting his legions of fans know that he does not endorse ear-cropping,” PETA’s Vice President of Programmes Elisa Allen told Plant Based News (PBN).
“He’ll find that the demand for ‘designer dogs,’ like Dobermanns, is fuelling cruel commercial puppy-breeding operations and irresponsible breeding practices that can cause animals to suffer from painful, debilitating conditions.”
Back in August, Essex posted a photo of the dog to his 1.8 million Instagram followers. He described them as the “newest member” of his family.
The post quickly sparked backlash from animal rights groups. Campaigner Jordan Shelley said he was “normalizing ear cropping, an illegal abhorrent mutilation, to his many followers by getting a butchered dog.”
What is ear cropping?
Ear cropping is a painful mutilation. It involves cutting off the majority of a dog’s ears and taping the remnants into an unnatural shape. It is done for aesthetic reasons, as some people think it makes the dog look more intimidating. The UK has banned the practice.
Despite this, the RSPCA previously noted that there has been an “alarming” 86 percent increase in the number of dogs with cropped ears in the country. It attributed this to the rise in celebrities posting about these dogs on social media.
Adopt don’t shop
Ear cropping is associated with the dog breeding trade. Campaigners have long urged the public to adopt from shelters, and not to buy their pets.
“While dog breeders churn out puppies to turn a profit, hundreds of thousands of animals in the UK – and millions more around the world – are languishing in shelters, waiting for a loving family,” Allen told PBN. “Many will be euthanized because there simply aren’t enough good homes for them all.”
“If Joey is serious about wanting to do right by dogs, the best thing he can do is give one from a shelter a loving home and encourage his followers to always adopt, never shop.”