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Massachusetts became the first state to ban the practice of devocalization of dogs and cats AKA debarking. From now on no-one in the state can surgically remove an animal’s vocal cords for non-medical reasons.  The silencing procedure, which was common among commercial breeders, now carries a fine and up to five years in prison.  Opponents of the ban say that the new law will be worse for boisterous pets who may be at a higher risk of being abandoned or unloaded on shelters.  But a Massachusetts animal welfare group says in 2009 they did not have a single dog or cat surrendered because it was too noisy.  There is currently a bill in Congrees to help states pass their own devocalization bills.

Photo by Benoit Dupont