Effective July 21, 2010, devocalization of dogs and cats is banned in Massachusetts. And federal bill H.R. 5422, if passed, will provide money to states that ban devocaliztion.
Sounds great, doesn't it? Stop the terrible surgery that leaves a dog unable to bark! Trouble is, as with so many well meaning actions, there are harmful outcomes.
How many dogs will be surrendered to shelters because of this ban? Why do you suppose most of these surgeries are done? Because the dog keeps barking and the owner is at his wits end. He's tried training, more exercise, reduced the protein in the dogs diet and on and on. Meanwhile, the dog keeps barking and the neighbors are complaining and they've called the police. One more complaint and the owner will be ticketed and fined and possibly forced to get rid of his beloved dog.
Having your dog undergo devocalization surgery is a last resort. Now the state of Massachusetts tells their dog owners no, you may not decide what to do with your property. Yes, dogs are property. The state of Massachusetts believes they know better than their citizens when it comes to a serious, personal decision regarding their dogs.
This ban is no reason to celebrate. This decision should make every dog owner and dog lover shudder and brace themselves for the next assault on their freedom. And mourn for the increased number of dogs surrendered to shelters in Massachusetts.