Target: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, City Council Representative, Ang Mo Kio
Goal: Denounce irresponsible recommendations of cruel dog training measures
A Singapore housing unit handed out a notice to residents recommending surgical procedures to “de-bark” their dogs. The letter, mailed out in response to a noise complaint, recommended a surgical procedure where portions of a dog’s vocal cords are removed. The procedure is only semi-effective and used as a last resort by many veterinarians as it can cause pain to the animal for months and even years into the future.
The notice mentioned a disturbance report of a dog incessantly barking throughout the night, and stressed the importance of a quiet environment. It went on to mention several methods to control a dog’s barking, including shock training collars and surgical procedures. Pet owners and animal rights organizations alike were appalled at the suggestion of an invasive, ineffective, and painful surgery.
Surgical de-barking procedures remove a portion of a dog’s vocal cords, but do not stop a dog from barking. They can reduce the volume and the sharpness of barks, but a dog can still be heard for 20 meters after surgery, rendering it an ineffective solution for apartments. The procedure also does not reduce how often a dog may bark.
Shock collars for dogs can pose a serious health risk, causing changes in heart and breathing rates, and leading to possible gastrointestinal disorders. Several kennel clubs internationally have banned the devices, which can serve to further behavioral disorders with indiscriminate use.
The directors of a housing unit, who presumably have no degree in veterinary medicine, have no right to recommend invasive surgical procedures for pets. While encouraging good training for pets can be important in apartment complexes, it is irresponsible to suggest painful and ineffective measures to control noise. Your signature will condemn the housing unit’s move, which could result in unnecessary trauma to dogs.
Dear Mr. Lee Hsien Loong,
A housing unit in Ang Mo Kio, Singapore sent flyers to its residents recommending shock collars and invasive surgical procedures in order to reduce noise made by barking dogs. These methods can be ineffective and cause problems with both the physical and mental health of some dogs.
It is important not to pressure residents into unnecessary and harmful bark-reduction measures, and focus should instead be placed on proper training and care for pets. We, the undersigned, condemn your recommendation of shock collars and de-barking surgeries for residents’ pets.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Nathan R. Yergler via Creative Commons