Porter’s breeder had his vocal cords cut to “quiet” him.
A Connecticut breeder had Porter (pictured here) --and other dogs--devocalized, then gave them to a rescue group. Even after costly surgery to remove the scar tissue obstructing his airway, Porter is permanently hoarse, and his breathing will never be more than 70 percent of normal. He's the lucky one. The other dogs had to be euthanized.
The cruel practice of cutting vocal cords just to suppress an animal’s voice, called devocalization, is more common than you might think. It is most often ordered by those who keep animals for profit, hobby or sport when they or neighbors don’t tolerate the sound of their many dogs or cats.
Veterinary specialists say animals face great risks, including horrific death, regardless of who performs this convenience surgery or how. Some devocalized dogs and cats cough and gag uncontrollably the rest of their lives. Others die from choking, heat stroke, aspiration pneumonia, or surgical risks such as infection.
There is no benefit for animals. Devocalized dogs and cats are given up just like any other, often when they’re no longer useful for breeding or exhibition. In fact, devocalization’s high rate of complications, and the expense of treating them, increases the risk of abandonment and euthanasia.
Help stop the cruelty! Urge the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association to issue a position statement opposing vocal cord surgery on dogs and cats for any reason but to treat a medical condition; devocalization must never be used as behavioral intervention.
Ask your own vet for a written statement opposing devocalization too. Veterinarians should not put profits or allegiance to colleagues who devocalize above the protection of dogs and cats from a painful, risky surgery they don’t need and are helpless to refuse.
Breeders and others who keep animals for profit, hobby or sport are known to devocalize when they or neighbors don’t tolerate the sound of their many animals. I am appalled that licensed veterinarians accommodate their selfishness at the expense of helpless dogs and cats.
Devocalization is equally inhumane when performed for a pet owner. Surgically altering an animal’s voice does not ensure him or her a secure home! People who select, train, care for and house dogs and cats humanely and responsibly do. Access to “quick fix” devocalization actually discourages humane, responsible breeding practices and pet ownership.
Clearly, animals don’t benefit from having their voices surgically muffled. Only the person who ordered the surgery and the veterinarian who profits from it do.
As with medical doctors, it is the ethical responsibility of veterinarians to “do no harm” to their
patients. Vocal cord surgery used as a behavioral intervention indeed is harmful to the animal and to society. To continue enabling this inhumane practice would not reflect well on the professional or ethical standards of the CVMA or its members.
I will be looking for CVMA’s unequivocal statement against devocalization and will seek out veterinarians who take this stand.