Pennsylvania SPCA officials seized 15 dogs from an unlicensed breeder who illegally “debarked” three of them without anesthesia.
Humane officers removed the devocalized dogs — a husky named Rosella, a Doberman Pinscher and a third — along with the rest of the pups at the residence in the Lancaster County borough of Quarryville on Thursday.
Two more adult Doberman’s, nine weeks-old Doberman puppies, a three-month-old Siberian husky and a pregnant German shepherd were also rescued from the breeder.
“The dogs were debarked by pushing a pipe-type object down the throat multiple times to damage the vocal chords,” PSPCA spokeswoman, Gillian Kocher, told The Daily News.
It is illegal in the state to perform the procedure unless a licensed veterinarian with the proper anesthetic does so, Kocher said.
The controversial technique is meant to prevent dogs from barking but many vets refuse to do the surgery because, “these procedures provide no medical benefit to the animals and are done purely for the convenience or cosmetic preferences of the caregiver,” according to the Humane Society.
Devocalization is not “widely” taught in veterinary schools.
The injured dogs were brought to the SPCA’s Philadelphia headquarters for treatment and further examination after their rescue and now, the organization is conducting a full criminal investigation.
The identity of the breeder will not be released until charges are filed, the PSPCA said.
“The manner in which these dogs were devocalized is concerning on many levels, not the least of which is that it is illegal,” PSPCA director of humane law enforcement, Nicole Wilson, said in a statement.
“These animals were debarked because it was a nuisance, and the inhumane manner in which the act was carried out can carry a felony charge,” she said. “We will continue our investigation and press charges to the fullest extent allowed by the law in an effort to ensure this never happens again.”