SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

Keeping It Hush Hush

SS Member Image By drodriguez 02.04.10
Keeping It Hush Hush
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People who have dogs, especially in apartment buildings where walls may be thin and living quarters small, often receive complaints about their dogs barking at all hours of the day and night.  Sometimes these complaints go beyond a knock at the door and are filed with the landlord, co-op board, or worse - the city.  When this happens, the pet owner is often faced with a couple of options: they can move out and possibly face the same issues at the next place of residence or they can give their dog up and deal with the possibility of having it euthanized at the pound if they can’t find someone willing to take in a "loud" dog. 

For some, neither of these options are palatable and they end up going in for a very unconventional solution.  A recent article from the New York Times talks about a surgery performed on dogs that has a lot of animal activists up in arms.  Debarking, the procedure to remove a dog’s vocal chords, is not widely practiced but has found it’s place in bigger cities where apartment dwellers receive more complaints about barking dogs.

Though many veterinarians refuse to perform this procedure, finding it inhumane, there are still a good number who do (though often times will not advertise this unless asked about it).  One San Diego veterinarian, Dr. Sharon Vanderlip, calls herself a big proponent of the debarking surgery.  Vanderlip has been performing this type of surgery for 30 years and defends the practice by saying, "They recover immediately and they don’t ever seem to notice any difference.  I think that in certain cases it can certainly save a dog from ending up being euthanized.  If properly done, they behave totally the same afterwards and don’t seem to have any health problems." 

The surgery is described as relatively simple.  The veterinarian will cut the vocal cords through the mouth or an incision in the larnyx .  All that’s left of the dog’s bark after the surgery will be a quiet muffled sort of sound.  But there is a potential side effect to this procedure that has a lot of dog lovers and veterinarians saying it is inhumane and harmful for a dog.  Dr. Gary Ellison, from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, warns that in the past he has had to operate on debarked dogs who suffer from breathing difficulties after scar tissue built up in their throats.

What do you think of debarking surgery?

Do you think there is ever an instance where performing this procedure could be beneficial to the dog?

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  • lovebeingamommy By lovebeingamommy

    Ouch! Poor puppies. I have 2 dogs and I would never dream of doing such a thing. There is such a thing as a dog trainer...

  • amare57 By amare57

    What a terrible idea! If dogs weren't meant to bark, then they wouldn't. A dogs bark can be a miracle...we've all heard of people who were woken up in the middle of the night by their dogs to be warned of a fire in the house. Maybe we should test this on humans and see how people feel about not being able to verbally express themselves...

  • carash13 By carash13

    People who would even think of such a procedure for their dog, should not be allowed to own a dog. They should buy a fish instead. These are the kind of people who leave their dogs to die in shelters because they can't simply train their dog or educate themselves before making such a commitment to another living being with feelings. The only time this would be beneficial would be if the dog has an infection or tumor of some sort in the vocal chords, larynx, etc.. , but on an otherwise healthy dog? .... ABSOLUTELY NOT!

  • CrystalBurgard By CrystalBurgard

    Debarking surgery = animal abuse!!! Anyone who would even consider such a thing, solely to shut their dog up, should have their dog taken away from them as they are irresponsible pet owners and dont deserve a dog. And the vets who do this should have their license revoked. If, there was some real medical reason why it should be done, then fine. But to do it to keep an animal quiet is downright wrong. And I totally agree with amare57 " Maybe we should test this on humans and see how people feel about not being able to verbally express themselves..." LOVE IT!! Perhaps the owners should have to have this done to them if they elect to have this done to their dog for no medical reason

  • summitqwestcomp By summitqwestcomp

    I think that this is a horrible idea! I agree with this being animal abuse!! I don't think in any way that this is beneficial to a dog. People should think about the responsibilities of getting dog before they actually go out and buy one so that this type of situation never happens in the first place.

  • bourmanfamily By bourmanfamily

    I think its a bad idea to debark a dog. I understand people want to keep their dogs but there are those anti-bark trainers. I think its just a way for people to have designer dogs without all the fuss of dealing with a dog that barks and this way they don't have to take the time to train them.

  • msfriendly By msfriendly

    I never heard of this before! I think this is terrible and should not be allowed. The dog just need to be trained. People shouldn't have a dog if they are not willing to train, spend time, and love the animal.

  • krys2000 By krys2000

    Debarking is a terrible thing that ought not be allowed. Spend time with your dog, train your dog or don't get one!

  • giesela99 By giesela99

    This is a "quick fix" to something that could be remedied with behavioral training. This reminds me of the parents and schools who are quick to medicate children for behavior problems without first attempting other modifications for their chidlren.

  • mardel By mardel

    Debarking a dog is such a cruel thing to do to an animal! How can anybody justify this as the only solution to a constant barking of an animal? You took the responsibility to get a pet and now it's your responsibility to train and take care of that pet. We give therapy to sexual predators but why not castrate them instead? Why should we take something natural away like barking from a defenseless animal? People let's deal with bigger issues here please!

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