Massachusetts Bans Devocalization of Pets

Lassie's dim-witted owner would have perished a thousand different ways if she had been devocalized.

This summer, Massachusetts became the first state to ban devocalization — the surgery that cuts and/or removes an animal’s vocal cords to stop barking.  Devocalization is banned in the U.K. and Denmark.  The surgery is most often performed on dogs or cats.  Besides being barbaric and risky, the surgery is also ineffective and devocalized pets still end up abandoned in animal shelters.

If you think you want a devocalized pet, then you should probably get a fish.

Massachusetts’ new law is named Logan’s law after a Belgian sheepdog who had the surgery and then was later abandoned by his owner.

For Logan, [a Belgian sheepdog] a boisterous “hello” to his owner was heartfelt, but unheard. He watched as his fellow canines barked their joyous greetings and [his owner] registered the pain and trauma on his face as he tried, helplessly, to communicate.  [source]

Anyone with half a heart would be saddened by that description of Logan’s state after the surgery.  It is easy to see why the bill was named in his honor.

Hopefully, more states will follow Massachusetts’ lead.  California had tried to make it illegal for landlords to require the surgery as a condition for renting.  But last week Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed the California bill.

One U.S. Congressman is trying to encourage more states to enact devocalization bans —

H.R. 5422, sponsored by C. A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-MD, would authorize grants of up to $1 million for the prevention of cruelty to animals. It was referred to a House Agriculture subcommittee in June.  [source]

To find out what you can do, click here.  The bill’s status is here.

Photo Credit:  janwillemsen


~ by siouxsielaw on October 4, 2010.

One Response to “Massachusetts Bans Devocalization of Pets”

  1. One million dollars for each state to stop this procedure? This seems like a good sentiment, but a pretty ineffective solution. The federal government cannot practically ban this procedure because they have delegated the regulation of vets to the states. Now, each state will have to change their own laws. I am not sure the financial incentive would really work.

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