Inspired by the 2010 passage of Logan's Law, prohibiting devocalization of dogs and cats in Massachusetts, NYS Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski introduced similar legislation in New York.
With input from Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets and Animal Law Coalition, Assemblyman Zebrowski drafted a solid bill that prohibits vocal cord surgery performed to alter dogs' and cats' voices. Vocal cord surgery to treat a physical ailment such as cancer--the only ethical reason for it-- would remain legal. The Assembly passed this legislation.
But when it was opposed by the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, though concerned veterinarians endorsed it, the Senate refused to bring it to the floor for a vote.
The bill has been re-introduced in 2015 at great risk to animals.
LOBBYING FOR THIS LAW IS PLAYING WITH FIRE... AND IT'S ANIMALS WHO WILL BE BURNED
Though the Assembly again passed the devocalization ban as written, lawmakers have repeatedly advised Animal Advocates of Western New York and Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets that:
The Senate will NOT step on the toes of the veterinary lobby, which is particularly strong in New York and is fighting to keep devocalization legal. Experience with this legislation over the past four years supports that.
If animal advocates continue pushing lawmakers to pass the devocalization ban, they may feel their hands are tied and do it. That's bad for animals because:
Lawmakers say the law will pass ONLY if destructive amendments are added thatwould ALLOW and LEGITIMIZE DEVOCALIZATION.
AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY...OR WORSE The Assembly could reject the Senate amendments--in which case, the legislation cannot become law because the two bills must have the same wording.
A worse outcome would be if the Assembly accepted Senate amendments cleverly crafted to satisfy vets who devocalize--or who just don't want to be restricted from performing any procedure, even one with no benefit for helpless patients.
While devocalization is currently legal in NYS, a loopholed law that codifies it as an acceptable practice will mainstream this cruelty. The result would be more dogs and cats subjected to voice-altering surgery than now. Once that happens, there's no turning back.
With so many important issues that need your attention, does it make sense to squander limited time and resources on legislation destined to fail or pass only in a way that will hurt animals?
DON'T BE FOOLED BY SNEAKY AMENDMENTS Lawmakers use loopholes so they don't have to choose sides. These cleverly worded provisions let them placate humane--but uninformed--voters without angering powerful lobbies that have a financial interest in devocalization.
Loopholes can be added as amendments any time before the legislation is signed into law. And they're rarely obvious. Click HERE to read some.
Don't let pro-devocalization lobbyists and the lawmakers they've influenced fool you! If you're serious about protecting animals, you must be informed.
WHAT CAN YOU DO RIGHT NOW TO END DEVOCALIZATION?
Become an INFORMED Advocate! Read this site. Watch the videos. Contact us if you have questions. This is a complex, nuanced issue made more so by those who want to keep devocalization legal. Information is your power to protect animals.
Build Support for Future Devocalization Bans Without widespread support, good devocalization laws are not possible. Urge your vet, dog trainer and the shelters in your community to take a humane stand for animals by submitting these easy online forms. You can contact us to see if they followed through. Be prepared: Some may defend devocalization. Click HEREfor the information you need to respond effectively.
Veterinarians and vet techs can join the growing list of humane veterinary professionals who support enactment of enforceable devocalization bans by submitting a simple form.
Animal rescue and care providers--shelters, rescue groups and advocacy organizations, Animal Control Officers, and animal training and behavior specialists--can submit this form.
Educate the Public About This Under-the-Radar Cruelty Some people don't know how harmful voice-altering surgery is--till they're convinced to subject their own animals to it. Others don't know it's happening, so buy dogs or cats they don't realize are devocalized. Without information, they can't ease their pet's discomfort or prevent a terrible death.
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