Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski Passes Bill to Ban Inhumane Devocalization of Dogs

ZEBROWSKI PRESS RELEASE

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-New City) announced that his bill to restrict surgical devocalization procedures on dogs and cats passed the Assembly today (A.1679). The legislation would allow the procedure only in cases where it is deemed medically necessary to treat or relieve a physical injury or illness.

“This is a cruel and inhumane procedure that is being utilized to silence an animal’s voice and we must put an end to it. Most devocalization surgeries provide no medical benefit and are done solely for the convenience of the owner,” said Assemblyman Zebrowski.

The devocalization of animals is an invasive surgical procedure that removes a dog’s or cat’s vocal cords. This procedure can lead to serious long-term respiratory and throat ailments for the animals and silences any communication between the animal and owner or another animal. Assemblyman Zebrowski’s legislation protects these animals by prohibiting “convenience” devocalization.

“Devocalizing an animal is not the only solution to stop excessive barking. There are safe alternative methods of modifying behavior such as training collars and behaviorists,” said Zebrowski

Veterinarians must document the medical necessity for the procedure in the animal treatment record and provide the number of procedures performed to the Commissioner of Education.

“There are underlying reasons for a dog that excessively barks that their owner needs to address. Devocalizing an animal is not the answer, it simply ignores the problem,” concluded Zebrowski.

Violation of the bill would be a class B misdemeanor and those convicted could face up to 90 days in jail or a fine up to $500. Veterinarians violating the bill could have their license revoked or suspended.

The bill has been delivered to the Senate.

Critics of the bill have argued that de-vocalization allows otherwise undesirable pets to remain in their homes.