'TOWIE' star Joey Essex returns puppy after sparking backlash with cropped ears

·Contributor
·1-min read
Joey Essex has returned his puppy. (PA)
Joey Essex has returned his puppy. (PA)

Joey Essex has returned his new puppy after its cropped ears sparked a backlash.

The Only Way Is Essex star came under fire from some fans and animal welfare campaigners after sharing a snap of the Dobermann with its ears sticking up, which is a hallmark of cropping.

The procedure is not allowed in the UK although it isn’t illegal to import animals that have had it done, and the puppy Essex was taking in apparently had it done abroad.

Read more: Rita Ora under fire as dog with cropped ears features in her video

The star, 32, has now told the Daily Mail that he has returned the dog as he doesn't want to send "the wrong message".

Brown and white American Pit Bull Terrier dog with cropped ears posing outdoors with a yellow dandelions wreath
A dog with cropped ears. (Getty)

"I really wanted to give the dog a home, I fell in love with him," said the TV star.

"But me taking him on as a pet would justify this cruel procedure, which will give the wrong message to my fans and followers."

"I'm an animal lover," he added.

Joey Essex was criticised by animal rights campaigners. (FilmMagic)
Joey Essex was criticised by animal rights campaigners. (FilmMagic)

According to the PETA website (People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals), dogs usually have their ears cropped when they are between eight and 12 weeks old, and the trauma of having it done can have a strong psychological impact.

Read more: Joey Essex and Chloe Ferry sign up for All Star Shore

"The process of taping and retaping a pup’s ears to force them to stand erect after they have been cropped can be agonising for the dog," they said.

Watch: Joey Essex proves how long he can hold his breath