Is Canine and Feline Devocalization Effective?Published March 13, 2013
Ventriculocordectomy, more commonly referred to as devocalization, is a surgical procedure in which a pet's vocal cords are either completely or partially removed through an incision in the larynx or oral cavity. The surgery is performed in order to prevent an animal from making loud noises that is highly objectionable to their owners or to complaining neighbors. While the surgery is more routinely performed on dogs, some veterinarians have reported treating cats who have undergone this inhumane procedure.
Dr. Nicolas Dodman, the author of the book, “The Cat who Cried out for Help”, is a renowned and highly respected veterinarian and animal behaviorist who has documented numerous cases of feline devocalization. Some owners of cats considered to be “noisy chatters”, such as the Siamese, devocalize their felines so they don’t have to put up with the raucous sounds of their loud and often incessant “conversations.”
In the vast majority of cases, according to the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, it is a non-therapeutic procedure. Performing devocalization surgery continues to remain legal throughout most of the country; however it has already been banned the United Kingdom, Massachusetts, New Jersey and in several cities in the United States. The procedure is no longer widely contained in the curricula in veterinary medical schools. The surgery is considered to be an act of cruelty by many animal lovers.
The only way to put an end to this unnecessary and inhumane procedure is to pass legislation to ban it. A bill was introduced by Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski. A1204 was passed on March 4, 2013 by a vote of 121-5, and moved without amendments to the New York State Senate.
Sponsored by Senator Mark Grisanti, S2271, the State Senate companion bill must now pass through two Senate committees and a vote on the floor. But fighting this legislation tooth and claw are the American Kennel Club and the New York State Veterinary Medical Society. Their successful lobbying in 2012 caused the bill to die, without ever leaving the Senate Agriculture Committee.
But advocates against the devocalization of pets are worried because there are several ways to kill a bill. It can be stalled in the committee, or voted down on the floor. But one of the sneakiest ways to render a bill ineffective and prevent it from meeting its original intention is to add loop holes.
The AVMA is presenting a loophole which could make legislation to ban the procedure extremely difficult to monitor or substantiate. While the organization states that the procedure should only be used after all behavioral modification efforts have failed and done only by qualified and licensed veterinarians, who is to make the determination and document that all steps to modify canine or feline behavior have been accomplished. This loophole surely leaves the door open for devocalization surgery to continue. Since devocalizing surgery has no medical benefit to the animal, it certainly points in the direction that its purpose is for the convenience and benefit to the owner.
Help is needed to get a bill passed to ban the surgery by folks residing in New York State who abhor the practice of canine or devocalization surgery. Online petitions really don’t influence lawmakers. They respond to direct contact from their constituents. Call or email your representatives. Let them know how you feel about this inhumane procedure.
To learn more about the effect of devocalization surgery, check out this video below.
Since devocalization of dogs and cats has no medical benefits, as far as this writer is concerned, it’s time that the procedure is banned, just as it is in the U.K. and in some states and cities in the country.
What do you think? Tell us in a comment.