Keeping It Hush Hush

   By drodriguez  Feb 04, 2010

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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trentjoy by trentjoy | Indianapolis, IN
Jun 01, 2010

I think more people need to take more responsibility for their actions. Don't get a dog if barking is a possible problem. If you did then make a good decision and find the dog a good home. This surgery is a terrible solution to this problem!

msbobbi73 by msbobbi73 | Chambersburg, PA
Apr 24, 2010

I never heard of this! I would never, ever do this to my dog or my daughter's puppy! Yes, they bark but so do our neighbors dogs and none of us mind. If your dog barks and your neighbors don't like it, find another place to live. There is no reason on this earth to take away your dogs "voice"!!!! Besides, there are other ways to control your dogs barking. Maybe if you can't commit to training your dog you should reconsider your choice to own one.

beabelong by beabelong | Pickerington, OH
Mar 21, 2010

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of! What's next? It leaves me disgusted that someone would ever think of doing something like that to a poor dog!

cybrown551 by cybrown551 | HOOKSETT, NH
Feb 24, 2010

I'm not sure about this one. I have pretty mixed emotions on this subject. I have a dog who barks but I don't mind because I live in a house. But I really not like to see the owners have to give up their dogs because of the complaints. And on the other hand to keep the dog they have to get this surgery done to the dog. I just don't know. I want to see the owners keep their dog and I'm sure that the dog would like to stay with the owners. So I don't know.

eisheth by eisheth | yuba city, CA
Feb 17, 2010

I seen a few people have commented talking about PETA, and I would just like to inform every one that PETA kills more pets then your local animal control and at least the pets at animal control are given a chance to be claimed by their owner or adopted. PETA killes more then 90% of the animals they take in most of which do not even make it to the shelter, they are executed in their van promptly upon being picked up. They are not given a chance to be adopted out or be claimed by their owner. PETA does NOT care about animals, They kill for convenience. You can go to and to Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (PETA headquarters is located in Norfolk Virginia) website in their public records, to verify what I have told you about PETA.

eisheth by eisheth | yuba city, CA
Feb 17, 2010

I mean If their kid wont stop yelling would they render him/her silent by removing their voice box? or if the child will not keep their little fingers off stuff would they cut off the kids fingers? NO they wouldn't, why? Because it is INHUMANE just like it is when doing it to an animal.

eisheth by eisheth | yuba city, CA
Feb 17, 2010

That is pure EVIL!! It is cruel and wrong and needs to be against the law. It's animal cruelty weather people want to admit it or not. It's completely unnecessary and when you adopt a pet you know what your getting in to. If you do not want to listen to a dog bark then DO NOT get a dog. If you live where a dog is forbidden to bark then DO NOT get a dog. How can anyone justify mutilating an animal for such a selfish, petty, and simply ridiculous reason? And that so called veterinarian needs to lose her job. I would not take my pets to a vet that would perform such a horrendous procedure on an animal. The same goes for de-clawing. You know that cats scratch so if that is going to be a problem for you then DO NOT adopt a cat.

GhostCat by GhostCat | St Louis, MO
Feb 12, 2010

When I was around 8 I went to this house to sell wrapping paper for girl scouts and what greeted me at the door was a debarked yellow lab. I was terrified and had no idea what was wrong with the dog. I have had a dog my entire life and even at that age I did not agree with what those people did to their dog. I myself have had to do things that I am against in order to save an animals life (I had to declaw my cat in order for her to come with me and not be taken to the shelter and most likely killed because of her age when i moved to an apt). But i would NEVER have this done to an animal. Like it says in a previous post, there is a such thing as a dog trainer. Behavior problems can be fixed with enough time and love. I cannot understand why anyone would do this to their pet.

sbcbchaffee by sbcbchaffee | Austin, TX
Feb 11, 2010

What if we got our vocal chords taken out because we talked too much or at all?????????? Even tho I dont like or use them there are collars for this.

rulistenin by rulistenin | Jackson, WY
Feb 11, 2010

This is for sweetgirl1..... if you would have taken the time to actually read what was posted you would have read that my friend ADOPTED (rescued) a dog that someone before her had ((debarked)). READ DETAILS before you slam people!!! It IS cruel to debark a dog. So sad.

mardel by mardel | SCHAUMBURG, IL
Feb 09, 2010

Were is PETA when you need them!! They need to be all over these doctors that perform these kind of procedures!! PETA HELP!!

DruidessMommy by DruidessMommy | Johnstown, PA
Feb 09, 2010

And to all those people who'd rather get their dog de-barked... just remember that when your smoke alarm fails to go off and your dog tries in vain to wake you with that muffled, scratchy sound from outside your bedroom door..

DruidessMommy by DruidessMommy | Johnstown, PA
Feb 09, 2010

If you live in an area where a dog occasionally barking would be a problem then you don't need to have a dog. Dogs bark for a reason. Just like babies cry for a reason. Would you get your infant's vocal cords cut because the crying annoys you or your neighbours?

idahospud by idahospud | haines, AK
Feb 09, 2010

I have dogs & so do my neighbors.My dogs only bark at people comming onto my property.(that is because I taught them & spend time with them.)My neighbors dogs??? They bark at everything,it is really annoying,but it is only because thoese dogs get no training or interaction.I think my neighbors should give their dogs to someone who has time for them.I think its cruel to get a dog and do nothing with it.dogs need people interaction to live a healthy life.De barking a dog is the lazy & irresponsible way out.

sweetgirl1 by sweetgirl1 | Kerman, CA
Feb 08, 2010

This is for rulistenin..... I think your friend did abuse her dog by having it ((debarked))!! How cruel to debark a dog. So sad.