WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Animal welfare activists are sparking a debate regarding whether or not the practice of devocalizing dogs and other pets is inhumane.
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.
CBS News learned that, after the surgery is completed, most pets are left making either low and harsh-sounding or high-pitched and raspy squealing sounds.
Dog owner Sue Perry was adamantly against the practice, an opinion she voiced while talking with CBS News. Her adopted dog Porter had been devocalized, which reportedly left the animal with a raspy bark.
“He really has trouble breathing even on a very short walk, and he coughs,” Perry was quoted as saying. “Before I really knew anything about this, they thought he had kennel cough. He gags so I have to monitor him closely when he is eating his food, and I have to water it down.”
Deeming the practice “horrible [and] horrific,” Perry set out to have the practice banned by petitioning the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Already banned in the United Kingdom and several parts of the United States, devocalization also allegedly has no health benefits for the animal, according to board certified anesthesiologist and AVMA’s animal welfare division assistant director Dr. Sheilah Robertson.
“Barking is a normal behavior for animals, and that’s how they communicate,” she added to CBS News. “Nuisance barking or excessive barking usually has an underlying social issue. Is it because a person leaves a dog alone for 12 hours? Does it have an anger issue is it because it hasn’t been socialized?”