Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-New City) announced that his bill to restrict surgical devocalization procedures on dogs and cats passed the Assembly (A.1204). The legislation would allow the procedure only in cases where it is deemed medically necessary to treat or relieve a physical injury or illness.
“This is a cruel and inhumane procedure that is being utilized to silence an animal’s voice and we must put an end to it. Most devocalization surgeries provide no medical benefit and are done solely for the convenience of the owner,” said Assemblyman Zebrowski.
The devocalization of animals is an invasive surgical procedure that removes a dog or cat’s vocal cords. This procedure can lead to serious long-term respiratory and throat ailments for the animals and silences any communication between the animal and owner or another animal.
“Devocalizing an animal is not the only solution to stop excessive barking. There are safe alternative methods of modifying behavior such as training collars and behaviorists,” said Zebrowski.
Veterinarians must include document the medical necessity for the procedure in the animal treatment record and provide the number of procedure performed to the Commissioner of Education.
Violation of the bill would be a class B misdemeanor and those convicted could face up to 90 days in jail or a fine up to $500. Veterinarians violating the bill could have their license revoked or suspended. The companion bill introduced by Senator Grisanti (S.2271) is currently in the Senate Agriculture Committee.