Fifteen-year-old Bostonian Jordan Star has emerged as the surprise driving force behind a bill to ban the cruel practice of ‘surgically silencing’ cats and dogs by removing their vocal cords.
Star, a freshman at Needham High, decided to take action after coming across a dog that had been debarked and abandoned. “It was just horrible,” he said of the dog’s struggle to get his attention. “It was just like a hoarse, wheezy cough. In a shelter, all they are is a mutilated animal, which makes them harder to adopt.”
Now his proposed law has won the backing of Democratic House Majority Whip Lida E. Harkins and Republican Sen. Scott P. Brown. If successful, the bill would make devocalization illegal in Massachusetts unless a licensed state veterinarian or Boston police commissioner deemed that the operation was a medical necessity.
If enacted, it will be known as Logan’s Law after a debarked Belgian sheepdog adopted by Gayle Fitzpatrick and her husband Tom. According to Fitzpatrick, “The reaction of people whenever he (Logan) was outside was, ‘Does your dog have laryngitis?’ I tried to explain he had no voice box and people were pretty horrified by that. We always said to him, ‘We hear you,’ because he tried so hard to bark.”
Certified trainer Vera Wilkinson of The Cooperative Dog explained that the most humane way to deal with ‘problem’ barking dogs is to understand underlying behavioral issues saying, “You have to get to the root of the problem. If the dog is barking, the dog is barking for a reason. There’s a lack of understanding between people and dogs that leads to conflict, and unfortunately the dog often pays the price.”
For young Jordan Star the solution is even more clear-cut. “To take a voice away from an animal is morally wrong,” he said.
Image Credit – tarentula_in via flickr on a Creative Commons license