A man in Britain has been sentenced to six months in jail for illegally docking four puppies' tails and that of a Jack Russell Terrier. Forty-two-year-old George Charles Williams from Wandsworth was also given a lifetime ban on keeping animals.
He was found guilty of five breaches of the Animal Welfare Act including tail docking, causing suffering and welfare offences. Williams denied all charges.
RSPCA inspector Natasha Wallis investigated Williams after he brought his Jack Russell Terrier named Bert into an animal hospital last year. She said, "Whether he used a knife or a pair of scissors, the dogs would have suffered a huge amount of pain. There was no reason for Mr Williams to dock the tails of these dogs, and no excuse for the cruelty he subjected them to."
The district judge said the dogs must have been caused "agonizing pain" and therefore the custodial sentence was appropriate in such a case.
In the UK, there is a complete ban on tail docking in Scotland since 2007. In Wales and England docking of tails for cosmetic reasons is banned entirely. The practice is allowed for "working dogs" such as those used by police, armed forces, search and rescue and hunting. However, only a veterinarian is allowed to dock the tail of puppies and the pups must be certified in a permitted area of work. Owners also have to make a declaration that the dog is to work and a false declaration is an offence.