Devocalization--surgery in which vocal cords are cut just to stifle a dog's or cat's voice--is an act of animal cruelty that's been kept under the radar. Those who have it done to animals and the vets who perform it for them rarely disclose it.
They know it's considered inhumane. And it's a cruelty that's easy to conceal: Unlike cropped ears, docked tails or declawed paws, cut vocal cords are hidden from view. People assume these animals have laryngitis.
THE TRUTH HURTS Surgically altering an animal's voice is dangerous regardless of the vet's skill, the surgical route (through the open mouth or an incision in the neck), or the instrument used, even laser.
Animals may choke to death,suffer heatstroke even when it's not hot orinhale substances into their lungs as a result of this unnecessary surgery. The lucky ones "only" struggle to breathe, and cough and gag persistently the rest of their lives after undergoing this convenience surgery.
Because there's no benefit for the animal, not even assurance of a home, voice-altering surgery isn't just risky; it is cruel. That's why Massachusetts outlawed it in 2010 and Maryland did in 2014, the only two states with a real devocalization ban.
PROHIBITING DEVOCALIZATION Loopholes That Hurt Animals: Be an informed advocate. Learn about the language pushed by special interest groups to create laws that allow and legitimize this act of cruelty.
Massachusetts Devocalization Ban:Massachusetts has the only law in the US that protects all dogs and cats statewide from surgery performed just to alter their voices. Learn who supported it, who fought it and the provisions that protect animals and the people who love them. For example, those who purchase dogs or cats without being informed of a prior devocalization can be awarded treble damages for the harm done to their pets.
Proposed New York State Devocalization Ban: Special interests that profit from devocalization opposed this proposed humane law; it died in the NYS Senate without a vote when the 2011-12 legislative session ended, but was refiled in 2013. Now it's in danger of becoming a law that legitimizes devocalization--an act of cruelty--thanks to amendments pushed by those with a financial interest in devocalization. That would be worse than no law.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW, WITHOUT SPENDING A DIME "Sunlight is the best disinfectant." Take devocalization out of the shadows--and help end it--by sharing these links via email, Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
Along with getting the word out, you can use your power to protect animals by doing this:
You're the client. You pay the bills. You have the right to ask your veterinarian to support banning surgical voice alteration--without loopholes! And you have the right to choose another vet if he or she won't. Devocalization is widely considered an act of animal cruelty. No vet should perform it. And no vet should sanction it with silence.