It's hard to believe, but some vets actually cut the vocal cords of dogs AND cats just to suppress their voices. We know because it happened to our dogs, a Newfoundland and a Chihuahua, before we adopted them; you can meet them in the video on this page.

We joined with Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets, which led the successful campaign to ban devocalization in Massachusetts, to protect other dogs and cats from the needless mutilation ours suffered.

But until the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) changes its policy on devocalization, countless dogs and cats will continue to be subjected to the pain and risks of devocalization just for the “crime” of communicating.

The AVMA sanctions vocal cord surgery as a so-called “final alternative” to euthanasia. That’s absurd.

NO vet is forced to cut healthy vocal cord tissue OR kill a healthy animal for unwanted barking or meowing.Vets are free to refuse BOTH acts of cruelty. But not all vets do. The AVMA policy enables this selfish, dangerous elective surgery.  

That’s why laws are needed.


The AVMA’s policy legitimizes and leaves animals vulnerable to devocalization, an act of cruelty. Read about it here:

No vet can possibly know if devocalization is a “final alternative," and some won't ask. Even receipts from a trainer or behaviorist don't mean the advice was followed consistently or at all; devocalization is easier for lazy or impatient people, profitable for vets.

And just as devocalization didn’t keep the dogs we adopted from becoming homeless, it hasn’t prevented the abandonment OR euthanasia of countless other dogs and cats after their vocal cords were cut.

Massachusetts currently has the only enforceable state law to protect all dogs and cats from being subjected to devocalization. Other state laws are smokescreens. Some good legislation was defeated by veterinary associations, which used AVMA’s “final alternative” position to justify this unjustifiable cruelty.


It’s obvious that some vets devocalize dogs and cats because it’s profitable. Others won’t devocalize but oppose banning it anyway. It could be they fear these laws would lead to prohibition of other unnecessary, mutilating surgeries.

Tell the AVMA: There is no ethical reason to cut vocal cords just to stifle an animal’s voice—ever.

Devocalization is an act of cruelty that no animal deserves, no vet should perform, no veterinary association should sanction, and no civilized society should allow.

Meet the HUMANE vets in this video:

Make sure YOUR vet opposes devocalization too. Talk is cheap. The only sure way to know is by having him/her fill out this form. Don’t be shy. You’re the client. You pay the bills. You have the right to expect your vet to share your humane values. And you also have the right to find another if s/he doesn’t.


Letter to
American Veterinary Medical Association Douglas Aspros, DVM, President-elect
American Veterinary Medical Association W. Ron DeHaven, DVM, CEO
The cutting of vocal cord tissue just to alter or remove a dog’s or cat’s voice, called devocalization, is widely and rightly considered an act of animal cruelty even when performed by a veterinarian.

Compassionate people everywhere urge the AVMA to join the animal shelters, advocacy groups and caring veterinarians who oppose using vocal cord surgery as behavioral intervention.

Attitudes toward animals are evolving, including an awareness that surgery performed to mask behavior is patently cruel. We hope AVMA will evolve too.


Your position, which condones devocalization if used as a “final alternative,” leaves dogs and cats vulnerable; no vet can possibly know if an owner pursued all other options, including proper care. This position legitimizes performing vocal cord surgery just to stifle the animal’s voice, an action that is never humane!

And the sad reality is, devocalization does not ensure dogs or cats a home. In some cases, it has caused euthanasia or abandonment.


We ask that AVMA adopt the position of concerned veterinarians, who oppose vocal cord surgery on dogs and cats under all circumstances except to treat a physical ailment, like cancer, causing the animal physical, medical harm.

The AVMA should advise the public that vocal cord surgery is always dangerous and never an acceptable way to deal with barking or meowing.

Instead, it is important to select dogs and cats wisely; to care for, train and house them responsibly; and to make a lifetime commitment to them.

This encourages humane, responsible stewardship of dogs and cats. Sanctioning devocalization discourages it.