What is involved in the surgical procedure to debark a dog?FamilyPet
Debarking, or devocalization, is a surgical procedure to remove vocal cord tissues that permanently stops a dog from barking by reducing the volume and pitch of a dog’s bark making it sound more as if the dog is hoarse or whispering.
Proponents state that the dog suffers no negative emotional and physical side effects, while opponents say it should be outlawed.
While many insist it’s a safe procedure, the American Veterinary Medical Association (www.avma.org) does point out on its website that devocalization is still a surgical procedure with potential problems from general anesthesia, post-operative discomfort or bleeding.
AVMA also asserts that devocalization doesn’t address the root problem of excessive barking, such as boredom or poor training and states: “Canine devocalization should only be performed by qualified, licensed veterinarians as a final alternative after behavioral modification efforts to correct excessive vocalization have failed.”
There are currently four states that have laws prohibiting devocalization of dogs under certain circumstances. Massachusetts and New Jersey prohibit devocalization except in cases where it is medically necessary as determined by a licensed veterinarian. Pennsylvania prohibits devocalization of any dog for any reason unless the procedure is performed by a licensed veterinarian using anesthesia.
Legislation in Ohio states that “No person shall do any of the following: Debark or surgically silence a dog that the person knows or has reason to believe is a vicious dog; or possess a vicious dog if the person knows or has reason to believe that the dog has been debarked or surgically silenced.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals posted this position statement on its website (www.aspca.org):
“The ASPCA does not recommend surgery to eliminate a problem behavior unless the animal’s guardian has already attempted—unsuccessfully—to resolve the issue using humane behavior modification techniques and/or followed a treatment protocol set up by an animal behavior specialist (certified applied animal behaviorist, veterinary behaviorist or experienced behavior consultant). The ASPCA recommends surgery only if the animal is at risk of losing his home or his life, and the surgeries should be performed by a licensed veterinarian who is experienced in the specific procedure. The ASPCA never condones the debarking of attack dogs to add to the element of surprise or to evade law enforcement.”