LETTER: Devocalization is not inhumane, 07-11-09
The Herald News
Posted Jul 10, 2009 @ 03:23 PM
Highly-funded, out-of-state animal rights groups are trying to outlaw a medical procedure that saves lives.
Devocalization, more properly described as bark softening, is a humane procedure when properly done to help keep loved dogs in homes when all efforts at behavior modification have failed to stop the barking. Like any surgery, a vet has to know how to do it. In Massachusetts a handful of surgeons perform the surgery.
Is it reasonable to say a life-saving surgery (for instance heart by-pass surgery) should be outlawed because some surgeons botch it and some results are bad? No. Is it reasonable to outlaw spay/neuter surgery because some dogs die during the procedure or have serious long-term health problems afterwards? No.
I suggest you check the NAIA link on that one to learn more.
What’s going on?
National groups that support themselves by raising funds on animal issues, like the Humane Society of the United States, PETA and other out-of-state animal rights groups squeeze the last dollar out of people who truly care for animals by calling a rare procedure cruel and the media buys in.
Having been an owner and lover of dogs for more than 50 years, a trainer, a breeder, dog show judge and involved in dog rescue, I can tell you from firsthand experience this procedure saves lives. We encourage people with noisy dogs to train them, try non-surgical methods, but if they fail, there is debarking.
Some people are so disturbed by barking they will abuse a dog. Our rescue groups have seen it all. Our national rescue workers reports include, “We have gotten in several extreme abuse cases where the dog was abused because of its non-stop barking. Oven cleaner down the throat; throat slit open; bailing wire tying the dogs muzzle.” http://www.illinoissheltierescue.com/debark.html
I also heard of a of a dog turned into a rescue with an electronic bark collar embedded in its throat. (Jpeg attached)
Alanna Kelly of Massachusetts has a wonderful dog named Striker that at an advanced age is winning all kinds of awards as an agility dog. Kelly debarked Striker for his own safety. “I was threatened he would be killed if he continued to bark,” she said. Kelly reported the threat to the Police and had Stiker’s bark softened. Striker has never had a problem since and is still happily barking away – just more softly.
I own one 16-year-old dog that was debarked when a neighbor complained. She has never had a complication or problem since.
Despite claims to the contrary, debarked dogs don’t have emotional issues with being debarked.
Contrary to what animal rights groups, such as the Humane Society Veterinary Medical group — formerly called the Veterinarians for Animal Rights — suggest, the AVMA has a position supporting the procedure as a last resort. The Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association also has taken a position supporting the procedure as a last resort. Properly done, the surgery is quick, nearly bloodless and recovery is quick.
It should also be noted that cats are not devocalized. Why are they included in the bill? Maybe the out-of-state animal rights person who wrote the bill now pending before the state Legislature didn’t know that.
The bill, promoted by a 15-year-old animal rights activist and written by an out-of-state group, would ban this life-saving procedure.
Many legislators signed on after a massive Internet campaign that didn’t get the facts straight.
True animal lovers would not want to remove the last tool we have to save a happy noisy dog from being separated from a family that loves it.