RANGERS footballer James Tavernier has come under fire over the cruel ear-cropping procedures he has had carried out on his dogs.

The right-back runs a site called Designer Bullies UK which, according to its social media, is “selling you UK’s most colourful and pretty XL American Bullies.”

“We can also ship worldwide,” it adds.

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According to Companies House, the business launched in November 2017 and its registered address is in Paisley.

The 26-year-old has posted images of puppies with their ears chopped off onto his business’ Instagram page - and those against the horrific practice have inundated the player with critical messages.

Evening Times:

“Anyone who cuts the ears off dogs should have their ears cut off as well,” said one.

Another said: “Hey Tavs, I just want to say that I have loved having you at Rangers but I can’t believe you’re a supporter of the slicing off of dogs ears because people think it looks better. Really shameful stuff from a supposed dog lover.”

The player has come under fire in recent months as well.

“This is disgusting. Stop mutilating your dog’s ears. You need to have a look at yourself. This is illegal and I hope you get done for it,” said a follower.

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“What’s with clipping the ears? Pretty bad stuff,” said another.

One man added: “Very cruel. No need to chop dogs ears off!!”

Ear-cropping has been described as an “unnecessary procedure that simply perpetuates the image of dogs as fashion accessories,” something which it “outrageous,” according to animal rights organisation Peta.

The Scottish SPCA has now also spoken out after the attention being directed at Tavernier.

A special investigations unit chief inspector with the animal welfare charity described how, two years ago, the team didn’t have a single American bully in its care.

Evening Times:

The inspector added: “However, we’re now seeing a worrying increase in the number of these dogs seized as a result of our investigations. The recent increase is entirely down to the current trend to own these dogs as a status pet.

“In the UK, any surgical procedure carried out for purely aesthetic purposes is illegal. Ear cropping is one of these procedures.

READ MORE: Animal cruelty in Scotland soars

“A common misconception is that these dogs are bred for fighting, but that’s not the case. The intensive breeding of these dogs in order to create the barrel-chested, heavily muscled, wide gaited bully of today has led to them becoming a sought-after breed which can be sold for in excess of £10,000.

“New breeders are popping up across Scotland and carrying out these backyard-butcher type procedures in order to increase the value of these pups.”

Evening Times: Chief superintendent Mike Flynn added how it feels like “we’ve taken a huge step backwards.”

“We had hoped that this horrific trend had ceased,” he added.

Mike continued: “These procedures are of no benefit to the dog and are carried out for purely selfish reasons.

“It’s a real shame that a number of people won’t even realise that these animals aren’t supposed to look like this, and don’t understand the amount of pain and suffering these dogs go through for the sake of a status symbol.”

Veterinary surgeon Harry Haworth from Lamond Veterinary Clinic in Livingston emphasised how vets are bound by law and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Code of Conduct, meaning they are unable to carry out these illegal procedures.

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Harry said: “This means dogs are being subjected to makeshift surgical instruments without proper and safe anaesthetics and therefore pain relief. It goes without saying that this kind of cosmetic procedure would cause considerable pain and distress to the dog being subjected to it.

“The risk of infection afterwards is also high, with the potential for complex health issues as a result of improper materials, a lack of sanitation, knowledge and correct post-op procedures.

“As this activity is illegal it’s likely that any infection may go untreated to avoid detection by seeking veterinary advice.

“In short, this is cosmetic, painful and needless mutilation.”

Any concerns about ear-cropping can be reported to the SSPCA’s confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.