Corgi lovers at loggerheads over ban on dog tail docking
A ban on tail docking has divided the country's corgi community, with the Wellington Welsh Corgi Walking Club the latest faction to pick a side.
Club president Michael Romanos, who is also the proud owner of an award-winning pembroke corgi named Fletcher Evans, said on Friday he supported the new regulations coming into force next year.
His comments come after Christchurch corgi breeder and international dog show judge Lesley Chalmers condemned the ban, labelling evidence that tail docking was painful for dogs as "utter codswallop".
But Romanos welcomed the move as long overdue, and said it would bring New Zealand in line with Australia and European countries.
"Why we haven't followed suit sooner, I just don't know," he said.
"There is absolutely no reason for a pembroke corgi to have his or her tail docked."
A corgi's tail helps to give it balance, Romanos said.
It also acts as a rudder in water and as a vital communication tool.
The docking argument was "most of the breeders versus the owners", he said.
"The majority of people who want a pembroke corgi would be happy with it having a tail."
Although tail docking may once have been used to distinguish pembroke corgis from cardigan corgis, that distinction was no longer necessary, Romanos said.
The New Zealand Veterinary Association was hailing the ban, which will be enforced by the Ministry for Primary Industries under the Animal Welfare Act.
Chalmers had claimed the pembroke corgi breed would cease to exist if tail docking was banned, saying "a pembroke corgi with a tail is not a pembroke corgi".
But the association's Rochelle Ferguson said that was not the case.
"The only risk to the corgi or any other docked breed from dying out because of a tail docking ban, is a breeder's stubborn adherence to an outdated belief system about how a dog should look," she said.
"There is absolutely no impact to their reproductive systems from having a tail."
SPCA acting chief executive Andrea Midgen said the society was opposed to all surgeries carried out for aesthetic reasons.
Many SPCA centres across the country had seen first-hand cases of home tail docking gone wrong, where in some instances euthanasia had been the only option for the dog, she said.
Under the new rules, tail docking will be prohibited unless it is done by a veterinarian to treat a significant injury or disease.
The regulations also prohibit the removal of dew claws, which grow on the inside of a dog's foreleg, unless the procedure is done by a vet for the same reasons.
Historically, tail docking was thought to prevent injuries and rabies and increase a working dog's speed, but that has since been disproved.