Pioneer State: Massachussetts House Passes Dog De-Barking Ban BillPublished March 5, 2010
I have exciting news for animal lovers in Massachusetts. On March 3, 2010, the House voted 150-1 to ban the devocalization of dogs!
The Bay State has taken on this pioneering step to ensure this vitally important and necessary protection of canines. The bill was authored by Rep. Lida Harkins, D-Needham, and co-sponsored by Rep. Bill Bowles, D-Attleboro. Bowles said, "I think basically it is a cruel and barbaric practice."
This cruel and unnecessary procedure, along with tail docking and feline declawing, has already been humanely banned throughout the United Kingdom. But, sadly to say I was unable to find any other state in this country that has either passed or that has pending legislation to ban this senseless and dangerous surgery. In fact, California, New Jersey and Ohio have already attempted to broadly ban the procedure without any success.
Fortunately the amendments posed by the Massachusetts' Veterinary Association that would have permitted the continuation of the cruel practice of the "cosmetic only procedure" debarking surgery were defeated by the Massachusetts's heroic state legislators. Of course the opponents to the final passage of the bill will be working harder than ever to prevent it from passing.
They "erroneously" state that banning the surgery will only result in canine abandonment and an increase of dogs surrendered to shelters. There is no evidence to support this view.
With the exception of any serious medical condition, such as throat cancer, the bill bans debarking surgery, which consists of cutting or surgically altering the vocal cords This is done to lessen noise, and to prevent dogs from barking altogether. The surgery is by no means benign. Serious side-effects can result which causes dogs to gasp for breath and to have difficulty eating due to the scar tissue which often forms as a result of the procedure. Serious infections can also occur post surgery.
Through their tireless efforts, the unfunded grassroots activists pulled the victory off, much to the surprise of the advocates of debarking surgery, who will no doubt double their efforts to either ban the bill or water it down substantially. Incredibly there are many breeders as well who will also no doubt join the protestors, since they routinely de-bark their breeding stock to prevent neighbors from complaining about excessive noise. Incredibly, some breeders actually perform the surgery themselves.
State Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera felt so strongly about the need for this bill to pass that she brought her own pet Terrier, Liam, to the proceedings. She told her colleagues that the practice of "devocalization" should be outlawed, as it is inhumane.
Here is an excerpt from her speech on the House Floor:
"(My dogs) are members of my family. They may not be search dogs who find people...or assistance dogs working with children. But they are special to me. (Devocalization) involves monetary profit, not love of animals. (It) is inhumane and must be stopped. Most people who devocalize their dogs don't take the time and training. Little dogs have a tendency to yelp, it's their only defense. I brought my friend who has sat here for the last 40 minutes and not said a word. He gets love and humane treatment from my family. Please accept this bill as written."
And now the bill now heads to the Senate.
Massachusetts residents can help by immediately demonstrating support by contacting their representatives. Call, email, or better yet, send a hard-copy letter thanking them for supporting H344. Urge your State (Beacon Hill) Rep and Senator to pass House Bill 344. To find your legislators, phone 1-800-462-8683
If this bill passes in Massachusetts, perhaps other states will follow suit and this barbaric surgery will be banned nationally.
Watch the compelling video uploaded to YouTube by enlightenmt1 to learn more about the horrors of de-barking surgery.
What are your thoughts about de-vocalizing dogs? Leave a comment and share.
Photo Credit: Mixed Breed Dog: Wikipedia