Only Massachusetts and Maryland (since April 2014) protect all their dogs and cats from devocalization ("bark softening"), prohibiting this cruel convenience surgery no matter how it's performed or by whom. WHO SUPPORTED LOGAN'S LAW Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets led the campaigns that passed Logan's Law and Maryland's new devocalization ban. Logan's Law was endorsed by animal shelters, rescue groups and concerned veterinarians throughout Massachusetts.
An all-volunteer advocacy group, Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets does not accept financial donations.
Thanks to the determined efforts of these ordinary people, the Massachusetts Senate passed Logan's Law unanimously, the House, 155-1.
WHO OPPOSED IT The state's powerful veterinary and dog breeding associations, which have a financial interest in devocalization, fought this humane legislation. They attempted to kill it outright and--as these lobbies continue to do in other states--with loopholes that would allow and legitimize the act of cruelty Logan's Law was filed to prohibit. Incredibly, a vet whose patient choked to death after she devocalized him came to the Statehouse to testify against the ban. She felt it was her "right" to cut her helpless patients' vocal cords for owners who don't want to hear them.
Logan was given up after being devocalized. Though he tried to bark like his adopter's other dogs, he could only rasp and wheeze, cough and gag until the day he died.
ABOUT LOGAN'S LAW Logan's Law is humane legislation that protects dogs and cats from behavior-masking surgery they don't need but are helpless to refuse.
What it prohibits
Vocal cord surgery performed on dogs and cats as behavior intervention.
Sale of devocalized animals, who may be medically compromised as a result of the procedure, without prior written notice to the buyer
What it allows Vocal cord surgery to treat a physical ailment--illness such as cancer, an injury or birth defects--causing the animal medical harm that cannot be relieved by other veterinary care. Penalties Both the person who requested the surgery and the person who performed it face fines and/or imprisonment; convicted offenders also may be required to undergo humane education.
LIVE IN MASSACHUSETTS? HOW TO PROTECT ANIMALS AND YOURSELF If you suspect a dog or cat was devocalized, contact local law enforcement or Animal Control; remind them devocalization is now illegal in Massachusetts. Ask them to obtain veterinary records to determine if the surgery was necessary for treatment of a physical ailment and to videotape the animal vocalizing. (You should get video too if you can.) Be sure to follow up! Without your voice, these animals have none.
If the animal you purchased on or after July 21, 2010 was devocalized ("bark softening" is the same thing!), and the seller didn’t inform you prior to the sale, contact law enforcement, the Attorney General and, if you wish, an attorney to represent you.
Inform them that in Massachusetts, failure to disclose devocalization prior to the sale of a dog or cat is illegal, even if the procedure was performed before the law took effect.
Complications of devocalization that may compromise your pet’s health—or result in death—are very expensive to treat. Removing scar tissue from the airway can cost $2,000 or more, and may need to be repeated.
Don’t give up your pet. Instead, make the person who had him or her devocalized pay! The court could award you triple the amount of your financial loss--including veterinary bills for treatment of devocalization-related conditions.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A DEVOCALIZED DOG OR CAT Without disclosure by the person who had the animal devocalized or the vet who performed it, the only way to know for sure is to examine the throat under sedation. Ironically, devocalization makes procedures requiring anesthesia more difficult and dangerous.
There are hallmark signs that may indicate devocalization. These animals may sound:
Hoarse, wheezy or squeaky and shrill; some whistle when they vocalize