The Housing Board recommendation to some Ang Mo Kio dog owners about debarking noisy canines seems to have upset some animal lovers. The Action for Singapore Dogs organisation claims on their Facebook posting that "This is an extremely cruel and painful procedure of removing the vocal chords which can cause constant physical pain." Sounds a thousand times more scary than the Isis "FGM edict" hoax in Iraq about enforced female genital mutilation.
Charlotte McGowan, a dog breeder for over 40 years, provides some alternate perspectives at her "Myths and Facts" presentation about debarking (bark softening):
Q: Does debarking remove the dog's ability to bark?
A: No. Debarked dogs continue to bark. What debarking does is to lower the volume of the bark so that it does not carry for miles around.
Q: Is this a "cruel and barbaric procedure?"
A: No. People with little or no experience raising naturally noisy and talkative breeds may tell you this. People with breeds like Shetland Sheepdogs (Shelties) can tell you that this procedure is simple and that it saves lives of dogs that might otherwise be dumped in the pound for their barking. Debarking is a more simple procedure than removing the uterus in spaying or removing testicles in neutering.
Q: Do dogs suffer emotionally from debarking?
A: It is a huge myth to suggest dogs are emotionally disturbed by debarking. Debarked dogs can bark. Even if reduced sound comes out of their mouths, they don't seem to notice at all! Debarked dogs that are not being constantly disciplined for barking, in fact, tend to be much happier dogs!
Before you join the throngs of unhappy people who go on the internet to research additional viewpoints - satisfied people don’t have time to go on the internet, we are told - consider the relative lack of reaction when the minister tried to debark the vociferous online voices. It is a sad day when the activists pay more attention to barking dogs than complaining citizens yapping for the return of their CPF.