Why is devocalization of dogs and cats legal?

Barking dogs can alert us to danger. It’s there way of talking. Yes, listening to dogs barking on and on is troubling. The problem isn’t with the dog, it’s with the owner. A well-trained dog doesn’t bark incessantly. And cat lovers know there isn’t a sound more soothing than that of a purring kitty.

So, it’s beyond my understanding why anyone would take their dog or cat to a veterinarian so it’s voice can be removed. According to Laura Allen, founder of Animal Law Coalition, H.B. 344, An Act to Prohibit Devocalization of Dogs and Cats, also known as Logan’s Law, has passed the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary, and should have been voted on by the Massachusetts House of Representatives. However, the bill is stuck because Rep. Vincent Pedone seems intent on killing it.

On Allen’s blog, she writes, “Pedone’s Third Reading Committee is only supposed to review bills approved by a committee for constitutionality or technical issues. There are no such problems with H.B. 344 and it has been approved by a committee. It is his job then to schedule bills for a final vote by the House of Representatives. Instead, Pedone is using his Third Reading Committee to impose his own view on voters by killing the bill before their representatives have a chance to vote on it.”

Pedone has called devocalization barbaric and inhumane. So it is puzzling as to why he doesn’t release the bill from the Third Reading Committee. “Pedone is playing politics with a bill that, by his own admission, will prevent animal cruelty,” writes Allen. “A December 2009 poll shows Massachusetts voting age adults oppose devocalization at a rate of 21:1. There were no differences by gender, age, or race.”

The Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets (CPR Pets), who sponsored this bill, says, “Lobbyists for the special interests that profit from devocalization may not be happy with these poll results. But fact is, they mirror our experience. As we canvas throughout Massachusetts, the question nearly everyone asks of CPR Pets is, ‘Why on earth is devocalization legal?'”

How You Can Help

Call Rep. Vincent Pedone at 508-791-7400 and urge him to release the bill, H.B. 344, without amendments by opponents, for a vote by the full Massachusetts House of Representatives. If you get voicemail, leave your name, address, and short message of support for House Bill 344. Then try to call again.

The longer this humane legislation is held in Rep. Pedone’s committee, the less chance it will become law.

Also, please call on Speaker Robert DeLeo, 617-722-2500, and urge him to move H.B. 344 to the Floor for approval by the House without amendment by opponents. If the bill is amended, as lobbyists that profit from devocalization wish, it would be unenforceable, and vulnerable animals would continue to be maimed.

But I Don’t Live in Massachusetts

If you don’t live in the state, send this link to someone who does and urge them to support, H.B. 344. Everyone can call Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) at 508-460-9333. MVMA is opposing this bill. Tell them to support this bill to prohibit devocalization: Vets shouldn’t perform or sanction medically unnecessary surgery.

Dogtime expert Michele C. Hollow writes Pet News and Views, which covers pet care, animal welfare issue, and profiles of people who work with animals and celebrities who help animal nonprofits.