Michigan state lawmaker seeks ban on debarking dogs

Michigan state lawmaker seeks ban on debarking dogs
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A Michigan state lawmaker is introducing a bill that would ban the surgical "debarking" of dogs, The Detroit Free Press reported Friday.

The bill, which was introduced by Democratic state Rep. Tim Sneller, places a ban on the procedure that removes tissue from a pet’s vocal cords, resulting in a significant softening of a dog’s bark.

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“That’s the way the dog communicates with us,” Sneller told the Free Press. “To have this done just because you don’t want to hear a dog bark is cruel and unusual punishment.”

Sneller said that he doesn’t see the bill “going anywhere, but it was really a point to bring the issue up and urge dog owners to think about it before you do it.”

"Before you rip out their vocal cords, take your dog to training,” he added.

Four states — Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — already have laws that ban debarking dogs in most circumstances, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. California and Rhode Island have laws in place that outlaw landlords from requiring the devocalization in their tenants' pets.

The veterinary association's official stance is that debarking dogs is only necessary as an alternative to euthanizing a dog.