By Jason Chester for MailOnline
Published: 10:36 BST, 1 July 2019 | Updated: 10:36 BST, 1 July 2019
Celebrities including Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock and former England footballer Andy Carroll have been criticised for adopting dogs with cut ears, a procedure banned in the United Kingdom.
The pair are among a host of stars to show off dogs who have been cropped, an ancient procedure that involves shaping the ear into an erect point, with millions of fans on social media platforms such as Instagram.
Ear cropping, which dates back thousands of years, was originally performed on working dogs to prevent risk of ear infection and other potential health risks, but has also been adopted by owners who breed the animal specifically for dog-fighting.
Controversy: Celebrities including Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock have been criticised for adopting dogs with cut ears, a procedure banned in the United Kingdom
More recently the procedure is carried out for cosmetic purposes on pups between the ages of 7 to 12 weeks, however it can cause great pain and increased pain memory if conducted on dogs over the age of 16 weeks.
It is currently banned in over 40 countries, but breeders are able to navigate this by importing pre-cropped dogs from countries that green light the procedure.
The aesthetic appearance of cropped dogs has proved popular with stars including Leigh-Anne, Andy and his wife - former TOWIE star Billi Mucklow.
Not happy: Taking to Instagram earlier this year, Leigh-Anne was slammed by fans after sharing a snap of herself and cropped dog Kyro
Outrage: The singer was brought to