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Keeping It Hush Hush

Keeping It Hush Hush

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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  • eisheth By eisheth

    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.

  • cybrown551 By cybrown551

    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.

  • beabelong By beabelong

    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!

  • msbobbi73 By msbobbi73

    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.

  • trentjoy By trentjoy

    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!

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