This was a concept I had barely even heard about before we discussed it yesterday in the animal issues class that I TA. As a little side note, I would like to congratulate all of the students in that class for taking it upon themselves to enroll in a non-required class (but fulfills a GEC) that discusses such complicated topics. These are students who truly show for the most part an interest in learning things in college instead of just checking off requirements before they leave. Yesterday, I talked to an aviation major in the class, just one example of the diversity we have in the class and hopefully that will lead to a lot of healthy discussion.
Debarking dogs can be done for many reasons. First on my mind was a beagle or the deaf dog in our house last year, but apparently there are more complex interests in debarking of dogs than just the annoying metronome of dogs who haven't learned to shut up. Most interesting to me was the fact that Ohio is the only state to have a law that prohibits the debarking of vicious dogs. It would seem that there were actually people who debarked attack/guard dogs in order to still protect themselves but give the dog the benefit of surprise. Law enforcement officers found this especially troublesome for obvious reasons.
What bothers me about the debarking of dogs is the surgery and the fact that it permanently inhibits the dog's ability to vocalize. I understand this is the goal of the procedure and I'm sure there are dogs which this procedure must be performed on, dogs that have no self-control and raise complaints from neighbors, etc. There does come a point where the dog will either have to be given up or debarked for its own good. And when you reach that point and there has been no way to prevent the dog from incessant barking, then I think that debarking becomes a justifiable procedure. There was no way to previously predict the dog would behave this way and to get rid of the dog would provide less quality of life than the alternative of just removing the ability to misbehave in a way in which will result in the dog's movement to a shelter or unfamiliar home. This is just one more of those tough choices that has to be made by the people who have taken the responsibility of caring for the animal. The animal depends on these people to do the best that they can for it, and sometimes they might determine that debarking is necessary. That's just one more fact of life, and it's better than the dog having to settle into a new home or shelter.