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Update: VT Ear Cropping Bill Scheduled for Hearing

(Tuesday, February 28, 2006)
The Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs reports that S250, a bill to prohibit ear cropping in Vermont, has been scheduled for a hearing before the House Agriculture Committee on March 15th. Time and location are yet to be determined. Dog owners are strongly encouraged to attend the hearing and urge opposition to the bill!

Vermont legislators indicate that they have received an overwhelming number of constituent comments in support of S250. It is clear they have not heard purebred dog owners' views. Please do not underestimate the importance of your voice-you can make a difference, and we need your help! Contact your Representative today!

What the Bill Does:
Under S250, owners who crop ears in Vermont will face a civil penalty of up to $3,000 for a first offense. Those who commit subsequent violations or who perform the procedure without anesthesia would face criminal charges. S250 does not prohibit owning, showing, buying or selling a dog with cropped ears, nor does it prohibit licensed veterinarians from performing ear cropping procedures for "therapeutic purposes." However, according to the bill, prevention of ear infections will not be considered therapeutic. S250 does not penalize owners if they have their dogs' ears cropped in another state where the practice is legal.

What You Can Do:
  • Attend the hearing on March 15th. For details about time and location as they become available, please contact the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs (802-229-2345 or 802-875-3537, rifrug@vermontel.net).
  • If you cannot attend the hearing and are a constituent of a member of the House Agriculture Committee (listed below), please contact your representative and politely express your concern with S250. Find out who represents you in the Vermont State Legislature. Be sure to include your name and address in your correspondence to verify that you are a constituent.
House Agriculture Committee
State Capitol
115 State St Drwr 33
Montpelier, VT 05602
Phone: 802/828-2231
Rep. David Zuckerman (P) [Chair]
Rep. William F. Johnson (R) [Vice Chair]
Rep. Philip E. Bartlett (R)
Rep. Bill Botzow (D)
Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (D)
Rep. Brian C. Dunsmore (R)
Rep. Mitzi Johnson (D)
Rep. Richard Lawrence (R)
Rep. John W. Malcolm (D)
Rep. Scott A. Orr (D)
Rep. Harvey T. Smith (R)
  • Even if your representative does not sit on the House Agriculture Committee, please contact him or her directly to express your concerns.
  • Purebred dog owners should also contact their veterinarians and urge them not to support S250. Point out that veterinarians should be concerned about allowing the government and public opinion too much control over their practices.
  • Share this information with other fanciers and dog clubs. We need everyone's voice!
Points to Consider:
  • The American Kennel Club strongly supports the humane care and treatment of all dogs. We recognize that ear cropping, as described in certain breed standards, is an acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character and/or enhancing good health. Appropriate veterinary care should be provided.
  • Passage of S250 may set a precedent for all veterinary practices in the state of Vermont. Once legislators determine they can ban certain elective procedures, they may be just a short step away from removing veterinarians' and owners' rights to make informed decisions about animal care and treatment.
  • Responsible dog owners and breeders, in close consultation with their veterinarians, should make informed decisions about their pets' health care-not the government.
  • S250 could create serious animal cruelty risks if owners who cannot obtain veterinary care for ear cropping procedures irresponsibly choose to seek less-qualified sources.