The New York Times recently wrote a story on the practice of "debarking" dogs. In case you aren't familiar, "debarking" is when a veterinarian cuts a dog's vocal cords so that they can no longer bark and are instead left with a sad, raspy wheeze. In recent years, many animal rights advocates and veterinarians have banned this practice. But because many dog owners simply don't know how to stop their dogs from barking—or don't even bother trying—the practice continues.
According to the New York Times, "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 say debarking is an archaic and inhumane practice; proponents say it's often a means of keeping a dog from being euthanized, and the animals rarely seem to notice a difference.
It's easy for me to say that I find this procedure disgusting, but then, I've never been in the position of having a dog who barks excessively. But even then, it would just seem wrong. I don't know. It's not fair to pass judgment, so I'll stay quiet on this one for now. I highly recommend reading the New York Times story, though, and you can find it here.
Where do you guys stand on this issue?