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Debarking not inhumane if done right

Posted: February 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 28, 2011 1:55 a.m.

An article in the Feb. 21 issue of The Signal (“Poll: A look at declawing, debarking your animals”) claims that debarking your dog is painful, implies it’s inhumane and that only 8 percent of pet owners polled approve of removing the vocal cords.

We adopted our 1-year-old terrier mix in 1994 and had her debarked a month later. Having separation anxiety, her biggest problem was the excessive, intolerable barking. If I walked outside, she would see me through the fence and begin a high-pitched shrill as if to be in agony until I returned to her “inside” the gate. We had neighbors rush over to see who was “killing the dog.” This went on each time we left and returned.

All efforts to control the problem had failed. A veterinarian recommended a specialist in debarking. The specialist explained that only two-thirds of the vocal cords were cut, leaving a softer bark, not all vocal cords as the article suggests.

It was the best decision we ever made and couldn’t have been happier with the results. After the procedure, she suffered no pain as promised, but was only her usual, playful self and didn’t seem to know the difference.

She continued to bark, as dogs do, but the volume of her bark was 50 percent less and she was no longer able to make the agonizing high-pitched shrill. We began loving her even more, and so did the neighbors. She lived 13 healthy, happy years.

Debarking is neither cruel or inhumane if it is done right with a qualified specialist. Please do your research if this procedure seems to be the only alternative.


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