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Tag: sever

Devocalizing dogs, devocalizing citizens

Those hoping to speak their mind about a bill in Massachusetts that would ban devocalizing dogs found themselves effectively silenced this week.

The Judiciary Committee hearing — because of the committee’s decision to hear 227 bills in one day — saw debate cut off on a number of bills, including one that would ban the process of cutting or removing a dog’s vocal cords.

Backers of the bill (H 344)say (or would have, anyway) that the procedure causes unnecessary harm to dogs, puts dog-owners at risk of being bitten without warning and can lead to infection of dogs’ throats.

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Wrentham) did get a chance to speak in support of the bill, which was proposed at the urging of a Needham High School student, Jordan Star, who after encountering a dog that had been devocalized, felt it was morally wrong. The bill if passed, will be known as “Logan’s Law”, named after a Belgian Sheepdog that underwent devocalization surgery and was later abandoned.

The bill would make it illegal to devocalize a dog unless it is medically necessary to treat an illness or disease. The law would be punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2500.

The Humane Society of the United States and ASPCA support the bill.  The Massachusetts Veterinary Association is opposed to the bill and worries that the bill “does not make debarking available as a last resort to save an animal’s life or home”.

The Judiciary Committee was forced to cut off testimony Tuesday from speakers on a range of topics, from gun violence, to sexual assault and a bill to add gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination statute, according to a report in the Wellesley Townsman. Advocates for various bills privately questioned why the committee would schedule so many contentious bills for one hearing, and some said they would have to leave without testifying because of the long waits.