Mass. debarking ban in effect Wednesday

The Massachusetts ban on the devocalization of dogs and cats, signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick back on April 22, went into effect Wednesday.

Other than for cases of medical necessity, devocalization of dogs and cats is now against the law in the state. It’s a good move and similar legislation should be enacted nationwide.

Of late, I’ve read the cons from those opposing laws such as this. One of the main concerns is the possibility that homeowners will have to turn in their habitually barking dogs to animal control offices when neighbors complain, because they won’t have other options.

There are several problems with this viewpoint.

If a dog is barking that much, to a degree that bothers the neighbors that much, the dog is probably living 24-7 or nearly 24-7 outside. The solution – let the dog or dogs live inside with the rest of the family.

If the dogs live inside and are only out for some playtime and potty breaks during the day – and sleep inside, it’s probably an overly sensitive neighbor. Folks like this do usually want total calm and quiet all the time and they should probably move to the moon.

I don’t think animal control offices anywhere have any business going after people who have dogs that live inside but bark sometimes when they are outside. In fact, I consider a little barking now and then from our pack to be part of our home security system.

Now – I realize my thoughts are based on having reasonable and sensible neighbors at the minimum level of sanity and sensible animal control regulations and staff members. And I realize not every case fits nicely into a normal range of cases.

But in those ‘other’ cases, there are humane products and training tools available to try, as a way to limit the barking. We don’t have to go so far as to cut the vocal cords of a dog – or cat.

On of the biggest concerns, however, is for breeding operations that debark the breeding dogs to cut down on the noise level or in some cases, to make it tougher for law enforcement or other investigators to find the kennel operation. This is an area where these laws are important.


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