Devocalization of dogs and cats draws legislative attention

When State Representative Christine Winger heard that some dog owners chose to have their pets devocalized to stop excessive barking, she decided to learn more. What she discovered was devocalization is usually performed at the request of an animal owner and not for medical necessity.

Devocalization is a procedure to remove a portion of the vocal cords of dogs and cats to reduce the volume of their vocalization. This procedure can lead to serious long-term respiratory and throat ailments for the animals. It also silences communication between the animal and its owner or another animal.

Rep. Winger believes devocalization as a way to control excessive baking is inhumane and signed-on as Chief Co-Sponsor of HB 3585. This legislation would prohibit anyone except a veterinarian licensed in the state of Illinois to devocalize a dog or cat and provides that devocalization can only be performed when medically necessary.  It also requires veterinarians to use anesthesia when preforming devocalization procedures.

"Often times pets are devocalized as a convenience to their owners and not for medical reasons," explained Winger "There are other safer solutions to stop excessive barking. Experts agree behavioral training is the most effective way."

Rep. Christine Winger recently spoke with WCIA News Channel 3 about her co-sponsorship of legislation prohibiting the devocalization of animals. 

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