Speak up for Dogs without a Voice: Help Ban Devocalization

To resolve problem barking, some dogs are subjected to devocalization – an invasive surgery which involves cutting an animal’s vocal chords. Devocalization can cause physical and psychological harm to the animal, and many groups are working to help put an end to this unnecessary and cruel practice. Currently only four states have laws prohibiting devocalization under certain circumstances – New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Ohio. ForceChange.com is asking New York State legislators to ban this inhumane practice. Help speak up for dogs without a voice.

Ban Devocalization of Dogs and Cats

Act Now!

  •  Sign the Petition from ForceChange.com to help ban devocalization for non-medical purposes in New York.
  • Contact your state’s legislators and ask them to pass similar bills if your state is not one of the four states already with legislation.
  • Tweet this message: Speak up for dogs without a voice. Help stop devocalization.  http://btc4animals.com/weekly-cause/speak-up-for-dogs-without-a-voice/

Why It Matters

Queenie the Chihuahua spent the first five years of her life in a puppy mill, where she was brutally “devocalized,” by a cruel method called “piping.” Luckily, Saratoga Springs NY dog lover and advocate Michele Riggi adopted Queenie, and is giving her all the love and attention she now needs. Riggi spoke up at a recent Animal Advocacy Day in New York State, asking legislators to ban devocalization.

Whether it’s called debarking, devoicing or bark softening, that doesn’t soften the impact of this procedure on these dogs. According to the American Medical Veterinary Association (AMVA), some of the risks of devocalization are complications of general anesthesia, bleeding, infection, airway swelling, respiratory distress and more. In addition, there may be psychological effects and anxiety.

Barking is a normal canine behavior with the purpose of communication. Imagine being surgically silenced because someone doesn’t like what you have to say. Barking and yapping may be difficult to deal with at times, but the humane answer is understanding what the dog is trying to communicate and training with positive reinforcement.

Michele Riggi and Queenie at Albany’s Animal Advocacy Day

About Author

Peggy FrezonPeggy is an award-winning writer specializing in pets, with stories in The Ultimate Dog Lover, Miracles and Animals, and others; a regular contributor to Guideposts magazine; and a contributor to more than a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her first book is Dieting with my Dog (Hubble & Hattie, 2011). Her “pet cause” is pet adoption, sparked by the love of a scrawny stray beagle-lab named Happy, an orphaned farm mutt named Corky, and currently, her rescue spaniel-mix pooch, Kelly. Peggy enjoys sharing tips and inspiration in her twice-monthly web column, Pawsitively Pets, and on her blog Peggy’s Pet Place.View all posts by Peggy Frezon →

  1. Tegan
    Tegan06-24-2013

    While I don’t have any debarked dogs in my home, and I don’t intend to debark any dogs in the future, I think debarking is a legitimate ‘last choice’ procedure for dogs that are problem barkers.

    Many councils threaten to seize and destroy dogs that are ‘nuisance barkers’, or otherwise ask owners to rehome their dog. It’s all very well to suggest that people should ‘train their dog not to bark’, or that their dog ‘needs more exercise’, or anything else, but in reality, many dogs just enjoy barking and it become a habit behaviour that is not easily broken. If the choice is put the dog down, rehome the dog, or get it debarked, what is really the kinder option?

    In my state, debarking is allowed if there is evidence that other avenues have been explored first (e.g. the dog has seen a number of trainers, tried citronella collars, etc). I think this is a good alternative to an overall ban as is proposed here.

  2. Ann
    Ann06-26-2013

    Devocalization is animal cruelty and animal cruelty should NEVER be an option. Hear what HUMANE veterinarians say about devocalization: http://youtu.be/K7MFE7y6xAE
    Responsible and caring guardians keep animals in good homes. Devocalization doesn’t. http://youtu.be/n2gNtrBI1Us

    • Tegan
      Tegan06-26-2013

      The question is, if an individual is threatened by council “stop the dog barking or we will destroy and euthanise it” what is really the more humane option? I am not sure what the government is like in the US, but this is a real problem in Australia – so called ‘nuisance dogs’ can be taken and killed for barking.

    • Jim
      Jim08-30-2013

      Barking dogs in neighborhoods is cruelty to humans. Not being able to enjoy your patio, nor being able to sleep, take naps, rest sick in bed, and being woken at the hours of 3am-6am before work has a huge impact on your quality of life and health. A barking dog is like second hand smoke, only louder.

  3. Jim
    Jim08-29-2013

    Until you are a victim to of barking dogs and how it effects the quality of your life, can dog owners make a case for being so inconsiderate to the neighborhood. Barking dogs are like second hand smoke only louder.

  4. Jim
    Jim08-29-2013

    To the inconsiderate dog owners who let their dogs bark outside I ask you this…

    1) Do you like second hand smoke? I do not like second hand barking!
    2) Do you like when a cellphone rings in a restaurant, movie theatre or shopping mall?
    3) Do you like when a baby cry’s during your meal out for dinner?
    4) Do you like when someone is talking loud on their phone at a restaurant?
    5) Is it ok I sleep?
    6) Is it ok I nap?
    7) Is a dog license a license to make useless noise pollution?
    8) If you were on vacation beach/poolside and some was honking an air horn how many honks would it take until you were annoyed? That’s what barking is like to non pet owners.
    9) If you have a loved one at home sick with cancer is it ok they rest peacefully?
    10) Am I allowed to enjoy my patio?

    Now imagine the above all week and weekends. Not just the once awhile episodes you experience in public such as second hand smoke or cell phone etiquette.

    What I mentioned above raises stress and anxiety levels which is not healthy. Your pet may be healthy for you but not for me. Once your noise leaves your property it becomes my problem.

    If anyone is having a problem with a barking dog. I bought a hand pump air horn and I go out when the dogs are barking and honk the horns until it annoys everyone. It was the best thing I could think of to reflect what it sounds like to us whom are annoyed and inconvenienced.

    A side note: People who love birds really sets in the deranged reality animal lovers live. (mind the ones who stalk them only to get killed by the very animal they love, koo! koo!) A species that can do what only man can dream of….FLY. What do animal lovers do to them? They nip their wings and stick them in a cage. Kind like chopping off a persons legs and sticking them in jail to only have them limp around in the courtyard to enjoy a little un-caged freedom. All because they love them.

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