Dogs With No Bark

Why people pursue the controversial surgery
By Lisa Wogan, February 2010

Another interesting read out of New York—this time a story about “debarking,” cutting a dog’s vocal chords, on the front page of today’s New York Times. It’s always seemed cruel to me to put a dog through surgery—never without risks—to address a behavioral issue (like de-clawing cats). Aside from health risks, I wonder how my barker would feel if he emitted only a rasp or a whisper with the UPS man on our stoop. It feels like a matter of convenience and lifestyle taking precedence for the owners. Still, the article raises the specter of animals being surrendered because of excessive barking. That’s a stickier wicket—I can’t imagine a dog is better off keeping his or her vocal chords intact but ending up in a shelter.