Mass. House votes to ban surgical dog “debarking”

BOSTON (AP) – The Massachusetts House has voted overwhelmingly to ban the surgical “debarking” or silencing of dogs or cats.

By a 150-1 vote, the House on Wednesday approved the bill with prohibits the devocalization of dogs and cats unless a licensed veterinarian certifies that the procedure is medically necessary to relieve an illness, disease or injury.

Animal rights groups pushed for the bill, saying the practice amounts to animal cruelty and poses only risks to the pets.

Some dog owners opt for the procedure as a last ditch effort to try to quiet chronically barking dogs.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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