Debbie's Story: Devocalization Was Easy... For Her Breeder
Debbie’s life began at the age of five years, when Rosemary's family adopted her. This sweet, friendly Doberman had never known love before. Her breeder had her vocal cords cut to "soften" her voice, then put her to work producing more litters. And when no longer useful, Debbie was given to a rescue group.
Rosemary says Debbie would try so hard to bark, she’d exhaust herself: "It was heartbreaking."
Debbie also coughed frequently and had trouble swallowing her food—two common outcomes of vocal cord surgery. So Rosemary would moisten her food and sometimes have to hand-feed her.
Rosemary says she worried constantly that if Debbie ever ran off or got lost, she'd never be found: She couldn’t bark loudly enough to be heard.
Dobermans are very smart and eager to please. They’re known to be easy to train. But having Debbie’s vocal cords cut was even easier—for her breeder.
Debbie died last year.
“Altering an animal's voice is a terrible and inhumane thing to do. The results are so very awful,” says Rosemary.