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Fido's Face-lift?
Julia Morrill
April 14, 2003
Exonerated
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April 14, 2003

Fido's Face-lift?

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Exonerated

After an investigation by the Kennel Club in England, the 3-year-old Pekingese show dog Danny, who had been accused of having a face-lift. Danny was declared Supreme Champion last month at Crufts, the world's biggest and most renowned dog show, which is held in Birmingham, England. The Kennel Club received an anonymous tip last week saying that before the competition Danny underwent surgery to remove wrinkles on his face. Danny's owners, Albert Easdon, 49, and Philip Martin, 50, run a hotel in Glasgow and have been breeding Pekingese for 30 years. They admitted Danny went under the knife last July, but only to have exploratory tonsil surgery. Several days after getting the tip, the Kennel Club issued a statement saying, "After receiving a veterinarian and specialist report, we're happy the dog did not go under any operation that changed its appearance."

Having illegal cosmetic surgery results in a lifetime ban, both at the Kennel Club in England and the American Kennel Club (AKC); still, rumors have long abounded at dog shows about tummy tucks, whisker lifts, tightened eyes, hair extensions and nose dyes. In the U.S., unlike in most countries, the governing body tolerates "ear cropping" (the surgical removal of a portion of the ear to make it erect) and "tail docking" (shortening the tail by cutting it). Both surgeries are painful and purely cosmetic and have drawn outrage from animal-rights activists. Tom Bradley, the chairman of the Westminster Dog Show, defends the practices, saying, "People are accustomed to seeing cropped ears. Uncropped ears change the expression and outlook of the animal. Having uncropped ears goes through as a minus."

Meanwhile in Britain, Crufts best-in-show judge Albert White says that whoever phoned in the tip on Danny is "small-minded and extremely envious." As for Danny, he's retiring from the show circuit and moving on to a new career as a stud dog. "If he wants to fill his time by having sex, then he can," says Martin. "He has certainly earned it. I'm sure we will get plenty of offers now he's a champion."

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