The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that a southern Oregon couple must quiet their incessantly barking dogs by sending them to the vet to have their voices surgically squelched.
The Appeals Court ruled “debarking” surgery is an appropriate solution to a noisy and relentless problem that neighbors living next to the dogs have had to endure for more than a decade on their rural property outside Grants Pass.
Debarking operations, also known as devocalization, are highly controversial. Groups such as the Oregon Humane Society and American Humane have spoken out against them. Six states have outlawed the procedure under certain circumstances, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The surgery involves cutting the vocal cords. Opponents say removing a dog or cat’s prime means of communication is cruel and unnecessary. Proponents say if done correctly, it can save problematic animals from being euthanized and still allow them to express themselves with a soft, raspy bark or muffled squeak.