Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: November 14th, 2012
Devocalizing dogs come under fire

Formally known as a ventriculocordectomy, devocalizing animals involves surgically altering the pets so that they can no longer make loud noises by removing some or most of the animal’s vocal chords through either the mouth or larynx. Animal rights activists are understandably up in arms over the practice. They’re pressing the American Veterinary Medical Association to ban the practice.

But the AVMA website clearly states that the practice “should only be performed by qualified, licensed veterinarians as a final alternative after behavioral modification efforts to correct excessive vocalization have failed.”

I’ve never heard of the practice, and quite frankly, it’s shocking that this even exists. I was no fan of our dog’s incessant, powerful bark, but it was part of who he was, and it warned me more than a handful of times of pending danger. I distinctly recall the time he was barking his brains out in the kitchen, while while I was upstairs working in my office. I could take it no more, so I stormed downstairs, flung open the door, and was prepared to bark right back at him, when I was caught up short.

There he stood, his spine ramrod straight, barking at the gas stove. I had accidentally left the burner on high. Luckily, there was no pan on top.

Instead of yelling at him, I gave him a huge hug. “Good boy, Bear.”

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Comments

4 comments on “Devocalizing dogs come under fire

  1. Harriet on said:

    I wonder why many of these people have animals to begin with. Dogs bark. If the dog is barking incessantly or very loudly, spend a little time trying to figure out why. Or maybe actually spend some time wit the dog. Don’t just reach for a scalpel.

    I can think of some people who might be improved by having their voices silenced. That doesn’t mean I’d be willing to have their vocal chords removed.

  2. Concerned Pet Owner on said:

    This is one of the most ridiculous things that I have heard. If this is really the case, then get a cat, goldfish, or some other domesticated animal that is not genetically predisposed to socialization. Especially, one that is trying to socialize with human beings. As a dog owner, you should be looking for the relationship that comes with caring for a canine companion. Can you imagine if a surgeon removed a human’s voicebox every time something stupid or annoying was said? We would all be communicating through blogs. It is ridiculous “people” like this that make you shake your head and wonder why people think that just because you can, you should.

  3. Sometimes a neighbor can complain about even normal barking of a pet. Rather than having to deprive a child of her dog, debarking in the hands of a skilled vet can be the only solution to the problem. An experienced vet will leave a softer voice so that the dog can still experience his feelings, but not annoy the neighbors. Certainly better than getting rid of a beloved pet.

  4. Beth Sayers on said:

    This is the most inhumane, idiotic and cruel thing I have ever heard of. To limit any creature from its’ natural functions is the ultimate in human arrogance and lack of compassion. Yes, many more people have pets who are not responsible or humane than the truely loving and kind and we have to be vigilent to keep our humanity. God created all!

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