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Thread: Debarking to quiet noisy dogs losing favor

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Debarking to quiet noisy dogs losing favor


    Veterinarian Mike Marder had his dog Nestlé debarked after a neighbor threatened to complain to the co-op board.

    NYT: Debarking to quiet noisy dogs losing favor - The New York Times- msnbc.com

    Inhumane or protective? Debarking surgery for noisy pups stirs debate
    By Sam Dolnick
    The New York Times
    updated 10:53 a.m. PT, Wed., Feb. 3, 2010


    Nestlé barks when Mike Marder and his wife come home, and he barks when they leave. He barks at delivery boys, he barks at the doorbell, and he barks at the Marders’ new puppy, Truffle.
    But for all that effort, the only sound Nestlé makes is a raspy squeak.
    Dr. Marder, a veterinarian, tells those who are curious that Nestlé, a dachshund-terrier mix, is hoarse from too much barking.
    But that is not true. The Marders had Nestlé’s vocal cords cut by a veterinary surgeon after a neighbor in the family’s apartment building on the Upper East Side threatened to complain to the co-op board about the noisy dog.
    Although there is no reliable estimate as to how many dogs have had their vocal cords cut, veterinarians and other animal experts say that dogs with no bark can readily be found — but not necessarily heard — in private homes, on the show-dog circuit, and even on the turf of drug dealers, who are said to prefer their attack dogs silent.
    The surgery usually leaves the animal with something between a wheeze and a squeak. The procedure, commonly referred to as debarking, has been around for decades, but has fallen out of favor, especially among younger veterinarians and animal-rights advocates.
    Keeping pets in New York City, of course, has always required delicate negotiations between neighbors and species. The city’s 311 line fielded 6,622 complaints about barking dogs last year, while housing officials banned pit bulls, Rottweilers and other large dogs from public housing projects. Real estate experts say that co-op boards large and small always wrestle with pet policies, many of them tied to barking dogs.
    Critics of the debarking procedure say it is outdated and inhumane, one that destroys an animal’s central means of communication merely for the owner’s convenience. Many veterinarians refuse to do the surgery on ethical grounds. Those who do rarely advertise it.
    New Jersey bans devocalization surgery except for medical or therapeutic reasons, as do Britain and other European countries. Similar legislation is pending in Massachusetts, while Ohio restricts the surgery to nonviolent dogs.
    But there are still those who perform the operation, and they and other advocates defend the surgery as a useful option for dog owners facing noise complaints and possible eviction.

    Dr. Sharon L. Vanderlip has been performing debarking surgeries for more than 30 years as a small part of her veterinary practice in San Diego County. She calls herself a “big, big, big proponent” of the procedure if it is done the right way, for the right reasons.
    “They recover immediately and they don’t ever seem to notice any difference,” she said. “I think that in certain cases it can certainly save a dog from ending up being euthanized. If properly done, they behave totally the same afterwards and don’t seem to have any health problems.”
    Rarely practiced
    The surgery can be relatively simple. The doctor anesthetizes the dog before cutting its vocal cords, either through the mouth or through an incision in the larynx. Dogs generally recover quickly, veterinarians say, and while they usually can still make sounds, their barks become muffled and raspy.
    Dr. Gary W. Ellison, of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida, cautioned that the procedure can lead to complications. He said he has had to operate on debarked dogs after excess scar tissue built up in the throat, making it difficult for the dog to breathe.
    “I think it’s probably going to be a procedure that’s done by fewer and fewer veterinarians” in the coming years, said Dr. Ellison, the curriculum director at the University of Florida’s veterinary school. He said professors there do not teach the surgery, and that he has not come across recent veterinary school graduates who have studied the procedure.
    Banfield, the Pet Hospital, which has more than 750 veterinary practices across the country, formally banned the surgery last summer, though Jeffrey S. Klausner, the hospital’s senior vice president and chief medical officer, said it was rarely, if ever, practiced before that.
    “Debarking is not a medically necessary procedure,” Dr. Klausner said. “We think it’s not humane to the dogs to put them through the surgery and the pain. We just do not think that it should be performed.”
    The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that the surgery only be done “after behavioral modification efforts to correct excessive vocalization have failed.”
    Barking out of frustration
    People with debarked dogs said they understood animal rights groups’ concerns. But they challenge their critics to spend time with debarked dogs before making a judgment.
    “I probably spend more time and money on my dogs in one year than they have in a whole lifetime,” said Paul, a breeder and dog handler in Catskill, N.Y., who asked that his last name not be used because he did not want to be singled out by activists. “I just hate being labeled as someone who’s cruel because I debark.”
    Paul usually has more than a dozen dogs at a time, many of them Shetland sheepdogs, a breed known for excessive barking. He said he has had most of them debarked, and requires his clients to debark theirs before sending them to him for dog shows. He said his dogs have lived long, happy lives, and “none of them are any sadder after being debarked.”
    David Frei, the longtime co-host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, acknowledged that some show dogs have had the operation. “There is no question we have some debarked dogs among our entries,” he said.
    Experts say there are many nonsurgical methods of keeping a dog from barking, including collars that spray citronella every time the dog barks, or sessions with a trainer or animal behaviorist to better understand the dog’s needs.
    “Dogs are usually barking because of some frustration,” said Dr. Louise Murray, director of medicine at the Aspca’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in Manhattan. “It’s frustrating to be a sheepdog with no sheep. What I’d be concerned about is if you’re debarking a dog and it has an underlying unhappiness.”
    Dr. Marder said that Nestlé’s surgery stopped the neighbor’s complaints, and “it really did not change the dog’s personality whatsoever,” adding, “He’s certainly a tail-waggy, happy guy.”

    Dr. Marder said they will probably debark Truffle unless she quickly learns to play quietly.
    Terry Albert, of Poway, Calif., said her life revolved around dogs: she boards them, rescues them, and even paints portraits of them. And she refuses to give them up. She has had two dogs debarked.
    “You may think it’s horrible,” she said. “But if I had to give up my dog or get the surgery, I would choose the surgery.”

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    Gold Member sharky's Avatar
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    Elite Member ManxMouse's Avatar
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    1. Veterinarians are not necessarily animal lovers.
    2. Why would I care about what a breeder has to say? If you cared about the welfare of animals, you wouldn't breed dogs/cats, which are being put down by the tens of thousands each day simply for want of a home. Fuck this debarking shit, and declawing as well.
    Santa is an elitist mother fucker -- giving expensive shit to rich kids and nothing to poor kids.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    OT but i don't think it's fair to put all breeders in the same basket. and i don't think it's necessarily wrong for people to want a dog of a certain breed. i knew a woman who breeds dogs in france (can't remember the name of the breed) and it's a small business she runs from home. she hardly makes any money off it (basically covers her costs) but she does it because she loves those dogs and she's picky about who she sells the puppies to.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    OT but i don't think it's fair to put all breeders in the same basket. and i don't think it's necessarily wrong for people to want a dog of a certain breed. i knew a woman who breeds dogs in france (can't remember the name of the breed) and it's a small business she runs from home. she hardly makes any money off it (basically covers her costs) but she does it because she loves those dogs and she's picky about who she sells the puppies to.
    I agree. My big poodle's breeder calls me every 6 months or so STILL to check on him. I love it because I can brag forever & she never gets bored!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member ManxMouse's Avatar
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    I'm a radical, what can I say. I know it's an unpopular opinion. I just personally can't find a good enough reason to justify breeders catering to a market and adding to the numbers of dogs and cats when perfectly good pets (purebreeds AND mutts) are being gassed and needled to death simply because there are too many of them.
    Santa is an elitist mother fucker -- giving expensive shit to rich kids and nothing to poor kids.

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    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManxMouse View Post
    I'm a radical, what can I say. I know it's an unpopular opinion. I just personally can't find a good enough reason to justify breeders catering to a market and adding to the numbers of dogs and cats when perfectly good pets (purebreeds AND mutts) are being gassed and needled to death simply because there are too many of them.
    I totally agree with you, especially when it comes to backyard breeders and puppy mills. But the main problem (at least in our area) are stupid idiots who don't spay/neuter their pets and don't give a shit in general. I know the lady who runs the local animal control and she's told me stories about seeing the same assholes come in to drop off unwanted litters, over and over again, several times a year. She keeps trying to give them FREE certificates for spay/neuter, and they just don't want to be bothered.

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    Elite Member Just Kill Me's Avatar
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    At my son's school and down the street there was a bit of a feral cat problem. The director of the school finally caught the mamma cats and had them sent to SNAP and the babies adopted. The mamma cats are now cared for by the school. The most annoying thing about it is when we all discovered that the male that was taking part in all the baby making is a well cared for cat from the next street over that has a home. There has been much talk of trapping the fucker and sending him home 48 hours later neutered.

    Oh and it has been discovered that two feral cats from down the street have taken refuge under my new place; I hope they do not have a litter under the house. I set out a trap but only caught the neighborhood possum who was pretty damned mellow. I saw him the next night just taking his sweet time crossing the street under the street lamp and nosing around in the drainage ditch.
    KILLING ME WON'T BRING BACK YOUR GOD DAMNED HONEY!!!!!!!!!!

    Come on, let's have lots of drinks.

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    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    JKM, I'd kidnap that kitty in a heartbeat and send him home nutless, fuck the owners!! They must be total irresponsible morons to let an intact tomcat roam around.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManxMouse View Post
    I'm a radical, what can I say. I know it's an unpopular opinion. I just personally can't find a good enough reason to justify breeders catering to a market and adding to the numbers of dogs and cats when perfectly good pets (purebreeds AND mutts) are being gassed and needled to death simply because there are too many of them.
    then maybe the solution, instead of banning breeders, is to promote responsible pet ownership and encourage people to spay and neuter their animals?
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member Just Kill Me's Avatar
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    KILLING ME WON'T BRING BACK YOUR GOD DAMNED HONEY!!!!!!!!!!

    Come on, let's have lots of drinks.

    Fuck you all, I'm going viral.

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    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Kill Me View Post

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    Elite Member ManxMouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    then maybe the solution, instead of banning breeders, is to promote responsible pet ownership and encourage people to spay and neuter their animals?
    I didn't say I would necessarily ban breeders, it's just my opinion that they are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Obviously the solution involves promoting responsibility and spay/neutering! I used to work for the Humane Society for pete's sake.
    Santa is an elitist mother fucker -- giving expensive shit to rich kids and nothing to poor kids.

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    Elite Member Just Kill Me's Avatar
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    Donate to SNAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    KILLING ME WON'T BRING BACK YOUR GOD DAMNED HONEY!!!!!!!!!!

    Come on, let's have lots of drinks.

    Fuck you all, I'm going viral.

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    OT but i don't think it's fair to put all breeders in the same basket. and i don't think it's necessarily wrong for people to want a dog of a certain breed. i knew a woman who breeds dogs in france (can't remember the name of the breed) and it's a small business she runs from home. she hardly makes any money off it (basically covers her costs) but she does it because she loves those dogs and she's picky about who she sells the puppies to.
    I agree

    This debarking shit is cruel though, as is docking and cropping ears

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