A dog breeder who cropped puppies’ ears with razor blades before selling them for thousands of pounds to celebrity clients has admitted to animal cruelty charges.
Simon Davis, 34, subjected American Bulldogs to painful cosmetic procedures before selling them on to high-profile customers including Little Mix star Leigh-Ann Pinnock.
Magistrates heard the RSPCA and police carried out a joint raid at his home address in Bedworth, Warwickshire, on January 30 last year.
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They found seven kennels and runs in a converted garage building in his back garden containing eight American Bulldogs in total.
Seven of the puppies he had bred and sold had cropped ears – a procedure in which part of the ear is cut off with a knife or razor blade to make the dogs look fiercer.
Ear-cropping is illegal in the UK under the Animal Welfare Act unless it is carried out for medical reasons.
Coventry Magistrates’ Court heard how one of the puppies, called Kyro, was bought by the Little Mix singer and her footballer boyfriend Andre Gray, who plays for Watford.
Geordie Shore cast member Aaron Chalmers also purchased a dog from the same litter, called Lenny, from the kennels.
Shocking photos found on Davis’s phone by investigators show some of the puppies he bred as they were undergoing the procedure at the premises.
Davis admitted seven offences under the Animal Welfare Act when he appeared at Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court on December 17.
Today he avoided jail after being given an 18-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work.
He was also banned from keeping animals for 15 years and ordered to pay more than £10,000 in costs.
JPs heard a further nine American Bulldogs were found at Davis’s mother’s address nearby, including two pregnant dogs, six of these also had cropped ears.
Davis had sought to buy ear clamps which are attached to the ear and used as a stencil so the desired ‘uniform shape’ is created during the cutting process.
He also wanted to buy a table to carry out operations on and messages on his phone showed seeking the services of a ‘cropper’ from the USA, to carry out the process.
In addition photographs showing pups before and after cropping as well as items used in surgery such as syringes, razor blades and forceps were seized from both properties.
Sara Pratt, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: ‘As a result of the publicity created by both Simon Davis and the kennel, alongside the celebrity purchasers, there have been numerous images of Lions Lair puppies in the media, including in the USA.
‘There is no way of knowing what drugs were available during and after the operations carried out at Davis’ kennels, or if the dogs or puppies operated on were given appropriate pain relief during and after the operations.
‘It is also impossible to say whether any of the operations carried out had complications at any stage which would have caused further suffering to the dogs or puppies such as infection etc.’
RSPCA inspector Herchy Boal said: ‘The RSPCA is opposed to ear cropping – a process where ears are removed or surgically altered. It is painful, wholly unnecessary and often done only for the purposes of appearance.
‘Dogs should never be mutilated for cosmetic purposes and ear cropping can actually be detrimental to their health, behaviour and welfare.
‘We’d urge people never to buy a dog with cropped ears and to report any concerns about ear cropping to the RSPCA by calling 0300 1234 999.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Katie Weston