Pets 101

The Warwick City Council Heard Your Voice… and Protected Those of Dogs and Cats

March 17, 2011 by Tails Magazine in Legislation, News with 0 Comments

Information provided by Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets

In a vote of 8-1 last night, the Warwick (RI) City Council enacted an ordinance banning devocalization of dogs and cats–thanks to you, it was minus the behavior exemption that would have allowed this cruelty to continue.

City Hall staffers and the news media credit the activism of animal lovers nationwide with overturning the loophole.

The sole vote against this humane law was Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson, who posted on her Facebook page following last month’s initial vote to approve an enforceable devocalization ban:

It may open the door for follow-on laws prohibiting ear cropping, docking tails and removing dewclaws. The impact on Vets, breeders and show dog owners could be a huge problem.

While allowing devocalization indeed protects the wallets of special interests, the Councilwoman failed to mention the impact on animals of painful, risky convenience and cosmetic surgeries.

What Should You Do Now?

1) Send a short email thanking the City Council members who voted to protect dogs and cats. Make it easy: Copy and paste this block of addresses into a single email form.

saco13@verizon.net, Johnd1025@verizon.net, CHARLES.J.DONOVAN.JR@warwickri.com, STEVEN.B.MEROLLA@warwickri.com, bruce.s.place@warwickri.com, raymond.e.gallucci@warwickri.com, Donna.M.Travis@warwickri.com, JOSEPH.J.SOLOMON@warwickri.com, mayorsoffice@warwickri.com, joanne.m.cournoyer@warwickri.com

2) Send a letter to the editor (limit to 250 words) of the Providence Journal (letters@projo.com) and Warwick Beacon (johnh@rhodybeat.com) applauding the Warwick City Council for banning vocal cord surgery cruelly performed to suppress the voices of dogs and cats. The Council’s vote for humane treatment of animals reflects well on Warwick! Scroll down for talking points. Include: your name; shelter or veterinary affiliation if you have one; full address and phone number for verification. Your street address and phone number won’t be published.

Talking Points for Letters to the Editor

* On March 14, the Warwick City Council joined the vanguard of governments that have demonstrated both common sense and compassion by prohibiting vocal cord surgery performed solely to suppress the voices of dogs and cats.

* Massachusetts banned canine/feline devocalization statewide in 2010; it has long been illegal throughout the UK.

* Other U.S. states are currently considering similar legislation against opposition from breeders–who selfishly order devocalization to keep many animals without hearing them–and veterinary associations working to protect members’ business interests.

* Prohibiting devocalization is the will of the people. An unfunded, all-volunteer network of people who care about animals–Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets–sponsored and passed the Massachusetts ban despite an intense battle waged by monied lobbies that profit from devocalization.

Why Ban Devocalization?

* Vocal cord surgery subjects animals to serious, even life-threatening, risks no matter how skilled the vet or how the procedure is performed.

* Dogs and cats face these risks without any benefit, not even a secure home; devocalized animals are given up like any other, such as when they’re no longer useful for breeding or exhibition.

* Devocalization is rarely performed on dogs and cats kept as companions, most often on those used for profit or hobby.

* Why would breeders order devocalization? To keep many animals when they or neighbors don’t want to hear them. Some breeders sell devocalized animals without disclosure to pet owners, who later may face the burden of costly surgeries to remove scar tissue from their dog’s or cat’s throat.

* Why would show dog owners devocalize? To keep dogs quiet in the ring or in transit between shows.

INFO: Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets, CPRPets@aol.com

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