It is disturbing that, in this day an age, a court would order someone to mutilate their dogs, as the Oregon Court of Appeals has done by ruling that five dogs must have their vocal cords cut out because they are “annoying” their neighbors (“Oregon court rules couple must surgically ‘debark’ dogs,” The Daily Astorian, Aug. 31) .
Debarking dogs for doing what’s natural is unjustifiably cruel. Debarking is not a minor operation. Like declawing, it is an invasive surgery that puts dogs at risk of hemorrhaging, infection, necrosis, pneumonia and respiratory distress. Vocal cord tissue can regrow within a few weeks, which means the dogs may regain the ability to bark. Will they be forced to go under the knife again?
Dogs who are socialized and live inside with their families are safest and happiest and less likely to keep the neighbors up all night with their barking. A barking dog is usually a neglected dog — be sure to alert authorities whenever you suspect a dog is being denied proper food, shelter, vet care or other basic necessities.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation