What do some Westminster show dogs have in common with some drug dealers’ attack dogs?
They’ve been debarked.
The surgical procedure, which critics label outdated and inhumane, has been around for decades, but continues to fall out of favor, especially among younger veterinarians and animal-rights advocates, the New York Times reported this week.
There are no reliable figures on how many dogs have had their vocal cords cut, but veterinarians and other animal experts say that dogs with no bark can be found in private homes, on the show-dog circuit, and even on the turf of drug dealers, who are said to prefer their attack dogs silent.
David Frei, the longtime co-host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, acknowledged that some show dogs have the operation. “There is no question we have some debarked dogs among our entries,” he said.
Many veterinarians refuse to do the surgery on ethical grounds, and some states have banned it, except for therapeutic reasons, including New Jersey. Similar legislation is pending in Massachusetts.
In the surgery, vets anesthetize the dog before cutting its vocal cords, either through the mouth or through an incision in the larynx. Dogs generally recover quickly, veterinarians say, and while they usually can still make sounds, their barks become muffled and raspy.
But Dr. Gary W. Ellison, of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida, said the procedure can lead to complications, such as excess scar tissue building up in the throat of dogs, making it difficult to breathe.
Ellison said the procedure is no longer taught at the University of Florida’s veterinary school.
Banfield, the Pet Hospital, with more than 750 veterinary practices across the country, formally banned the surgery last summer.
“Debarking is not a medically necessary procedure,” said Jeffrey S. Klausner, the hospital’s senior vice president and chief medical officer. “We think it’s not humane to the dogs to put them through the surgery and the pain. We just do not think that it should be performed.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that the surgery only be done “after behavioral modification efforts to correct excessive vocalization have failed.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american veterinary medical association, avma, banfield, banned, bark, barking, cut, debarked, debarking, dogs, inhumane, jeffrey s. klausner, massachusetts, new jersey, new york times, outdated, problems, proposal, scar tissue, show dogs, surgery, surgical procedure, university of florida, veterinarian, veterinary, veterinary school, vocal cords, westminster
America’s toughest sheriff seems to have a soft spot for pooches.
That, in part, explains why Sheriff Joe Arpaio runs an animal shelter out of the old Maricopa County jail in Phoenix — one complete with air conditioning, a luxury Arpaio has never seen fit to afford the incarcerated humans entrusted to his care.
Arpaio — a strong supporter of the death penalty, cracking down on illegal immigrants and providing the bare minimum, or slightly less, for inmates – has long been criticized for inhumane practices in the county jail, from the use of chain gangs to housing inmates in tents to mandating all inmate underwear be pink.
He once told CNN he was proud of the fact that the no-frills county prison system spent $1.10 each a day to feed its guard dogs, but only 90 cents each to feed its inmates.
His no-kill animal shelter, on the other hand — called MASH (Maricpopa Animal Safe Haven) – offers a cool and comfortable, supportive and nurturing environment for pets.
Prisoners help run the shelter, and news reports recently highlighted the story of two emaciated Rhodesian Ridgebacks who were nursed back to health by female inmates. The dogs were taken in after their owner, 34-year-old Jonathan Eder, was arrested on animal cruelty charges in August, ABC15 in Phoenix reported.
Named Bazzele and Frank, the dogs had been deprived of food and water for so long that the outlines of their rib cages were “drastically visible.” Bazelle reportedly weighed only 48 pounds, Frank 57. At the shelter, both have recovered. Bazzele now weighs 71 pounds and Frank 73. Both are up for adoption for $100 each.
The shelter was created to house and care for animals that, because of abuse or neglect by their caretakers, have been seized by the county’s Animal Cruelty Investigative Unit and must remain in custody until the court cases are resolved. After that, the sheriff’s shelter finds adoptive homes for the dogs.
Arpaio opened the shelter in the First Avenue Jail, which was closed for repairs in December 1999, then reopened for pets after getting refurbished.
“Some critics have said that it’s inhumane to put dogs and cats in air-conditioned quarters when inmates don’t have air conditioning,” the sheriff’s website says. “A good answer came from one of the inmates assigned to care for the dogs. When asked if she was resentful about not having air conditioning, she gestured to some of the dogs and said, ‘They didn’t do anything wrong. I did.’”
Consider the case of Schultz, the mastiff pictured to the left, also known as #1001.
“My owner kept me locked in a crate so I wasn’t allowed to go outside to use the bathroom, they also failed to provide me with the necessary food & water,” he says on the sheriff’s shelter web page that lists available animals. “I was brought to the MASH Unit in August, 2007, in which I received the medical attention and the love I needed to get better and recover …”
You won’t find many testimonials like that from the humans Arpaio oversees.
In Maricopa County, for an inmate to be treated like a dog would, literally, be an improvement — and, contrary as nurturing an inmate would be to the highly popular Arpaio’s philosophy, maybe it would keep some of them from biting again, once they are eventually released from their crates.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 9th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air conditioning, animal shelter, arizona, arpaio, county, dogs, humane, inhumane, inmates, jail, joe, maricopa, mash, no-kill, pets, phoenix, prison, rescue, rights, sheriff
South Lake Tahoe has moved one step closer to banning the retail sale of dogs and cats by pet stores.
The Nevada city’s planning commission recommended approval of the proposed ordinance on a 4-1 vote Thursday, according to the San Jose Mercury News. It now will go to the City Council for consideration.
Supporters say the ordinance would allow the city to do its part to combat puppy mills—high-volume breeding facilities considered inhumane by animal welfare organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States, which says most dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills.
If approved, the ordinance would give stores that sell dogs or cats two years to phase out that part of their business.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 16th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, ban, cats, city council, dogs, hsus, inhumane, law, ordinance, pet, pet stores, pets, puppy mills, sales, selling, south lake tahoe