By Richard Prior
Saturday, 08 March 2008
Can a six-month old cocker spaniel have his tail docked? We ask expert Richard Prior
I have recently adopted a six-month-old cocker spaniel from an elderly friend who couldnt handle him. As a keen Shot and beater, I would like eventually to work him. Unfortunately, he does not have a docked tail. How do I stand within the law by trying to have his tail docked? Is it legally possible at his age?
The docking of dogs tails was banned in England from 6 April 2007, and Wales from 28 March 2007. However, there are exemptions from the ban for certain working dogs and for medical treatment. Any dog exempt from the ban must be no more than five days old when the procedure is carried out by a veterinary surgeon, who will also have to certify that he or she has seen evidence that the dog is likely to work in the specified areas.
The dog will also need to be micro-chipped by the same veterinary surgeon to identify it. Your dog could have been legally docked before the ban came into force, but not now and indeed it would not be docking, but rather amputation with general anaesthesia and the attendant risks. If at some point in the future the tail becomes badly damaged, then amputation may be the only treatment. Not all spaniels with long or full tails suffer damage, however, so you, or rather your cocker, may be lucky
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