New Law Prevents Aesthetic Clipping Of Dogs In Quebec

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
The new year is bringing a new animal law to Quebec, which will make it illegal for veterinarians to perform cosmetic surgeries to clip a dog’s tail or ears to match a ‘breed’ standard.

Veterinarians in Quebec will no longer be able to perform aesthetic surgeries like tail docking or ear clipping for cosmetic purposes. The law went into effect January 1, 2017, and makes it illegal for veterinarians to perform the procedures if not specifically for medical purposes.

The Quebec Order of Veterinarians says that the surgeries are painful for pets, and are typically only done for cosmetic reasons. The law will not ban vets from performing tail docking should a situation occur where a dog with a damaged tail or ear would require amputation. Dr. Enid Stiles, a veterinarian with the Sherwood Park Animal Hospital, says that those are basically the only circumstances under which clipping and cropping surgeries will occur, claiming they are painful procedures.

Related: New Study Fuels Anti Tail Docking and Ear Cropping Standards

Breeders, however, are unhappy with the new regulations and disagrees with them as breeders are only maintaining the ‘blueprint’ of breed standards. Many of the province’s breeders claim they are abiding by breed standards. In order to meet Canadian Kennel Club breed standards, dogs such as Doberman Pinschers must have tails docked and ears cropped as puppies. Breeders say this happens when the puppies are one-day-old and barely know what is happening. Further, they claim that the procedures aren’t solely cosmetic, especially for herding breeds such as shepherds and collies who can hurt their tails when working.

Before the restriction became law, veterinarians had the choice of whether to dock or clip tails and ears, with many choosing not to because they do not want to bring pain to animals. Dr. Stiles says that she’s thrilled with the new regulations because they will encourage social change resulting in more ethical treatment of animals.

Related: The Hideous Truth About Dog Plastic Surgery

Still, the procedures are still legal in provinces like Ontario, and in the United States, and breeders will most likely continue the cropping practice in those places. More, should the restrictions become even more widespread, breeders claim they may be forced to turn to those who are not vets to do the procedures in order to maintain the breed integrity.

We applaud the measure to restrict the cropping, and hope that the societal change Dr. Stiles hopes for does indeed happen.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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