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. 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 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.

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

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