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A bill has been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives that would ban ear cropping, tail docking, and “debarking.” No individual may perform these procedures, and veterinarians may only do so if relieving an injury, illness, infection, etc.

House Bill 6009 has been assigned to the House Agriculture Committee and is not currently scheduled for a hearing.  In addition, the House is in recess until August 6.

AKC opposes this bill, as these procedures, when done humanely, are not purely aesthetic, as the bill implies.  Ear cropping and tail docking are important parts of certain breed standards, which were developed based on the traits for which the dog was originally bred, and in some cases, actually protect a dog from harm and serious injury later in life.  “Debarking”, or bark softening, is a humane, minimally-invasive procedure performed by a veterinarian when all other training methods have failed, and may allow a dog to remain in a loving home rather than being taken to a shelter.  Visit AKC’s Key Issues page on this topic for more information.

AKC and the Michigan Association for Pure-Bred Dogs are closely monitoring this proposal and will provide updates and more information if and when action is needed.

Those who wish to do so may respectfully send comments to the sponsor and House Agriculture Committee:

Committee Chair, Rep. Julie Alexander
(517) 373-1795

Rep. Mike Mueller
(517) 373-1780

Rep. Beau LaFace
(517) 373-0156

Rep. Michele Hoitenga
(517) 373-1747

Rep. Gary Eisen
(517) 373-1790

Rep. Pauline Wendzel
(517) 373-1403

Rep. Brian Elder
(517) 373-0158

Rep. Kevin Coleman
(517) 373-2576

Rep. Alex Garza
(517) 373-0852

Rep. Cynthia A. Johnson
(517) 373-0844

Rep. Angela Witwer

For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at