The Silence of the Innocents

Below is a guest post by the animal and human rights activist and supporter of free software Luis Leonel.


Karen Szewc and John Updegraff began breeding Tibetan Mastiffs to protect their sheep from predators at their home in Rouge River, Oregon, United States.

But they bark too much when left alone for long periods of time, according to Updegraff’s neighbors, Debra and Dale Krein. Then, they decided to sue them.

This Wednesday an Oregon appeals court consisting of the judges Joel DeVore, Chris Garrett and Bronson James agreed that the owners must surgically damage or remove the vocal cords of their dogs in order to reduce their ability to vocalize, in a procedure known as “ventriculocordectomy”, “debarking” or “devocalization”.

Debarking is controversial because barking is normal behavior for a dog and an important way of communicating with those around them. The damage or mutilation of the vocal cords can result in a dog experiencing permanent distress and, consequently, psychological harm, by their lack of ability to sound an appropriate warning as they feel necessary.

What is Ventriculocordectomy?

2 thoughts on “The Silence of the Innocents

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