BDO and other grassroots dog advocates unite to pass Logan's Law: Official Press Release
First state to ban cruel devocalization of dogs and cats.
• Landmark humane law takes effect July 21 at 12:01 a.m.
• Sponsor: unfunded, grassroots Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets.
• Inspired new federal bill that could drive $1 million grant to MA.
Their vocal cords were cut to stifle their voices. Logan's Law will end this cruelty in Massachusetts.
(l-r) Logan was adopted by Gayle Fitzpatrick of Plymouth. Stella was adopted by Dottie Veneto of Quincy.
Demi was adopted by Cindy Martin of Taunton. Lady was adopted by Fran and Gene Nadeau of Pittsfield.
Fritz was purchased from a breeder by Kate Sanders-Pedersen of Wayland—unaware he had been subjected to devocalization surgery. All photos available as jpegs for reprint.
Who devocalizes? What do the dogs sound like?
Search Faces of Devocalization on www.youtube.com
What are the risks? Hear what veterinarians and shelters say.
Search Unkindest Cut Devocalization on www.youtube.com
PRESS CONTACT: Beth Birnbaum, 617-332-1483 (home/office); 617-697-3374 (cell)
From 16-year-old suburbanite Jordan Star (of Boston Dogs Organization) to 71-year-old Jordan Gallagher of Dorchester, a grassroots network of pet owners and others from every corner of the state passed an historic humane law this session without funding or even a formal organization. Logan’s Law will serve as
a model for other states and was the impetus for a new federal bill to prevent cruelty to animals.
What Logan’s Law does:
It prohibits devocalization of dogs and cats—cutting vocal cords to suppress or remove the voice. It allows vocal cord surgery to treat disease, injury or birth defects. Sponsored by:
Massachusetts residents. In 2008, the Coalition filed and passed the first state law banning an Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets, an unfunded, all-volunteer network of
inhumane new business model that rents pets by the hour or day, like cars or DVDs.
• Filed January 2009, 59 legislative cosponsors
Logan’s Law, legislative history:
• Carried in the House by Rep. Bill Bowles, 617-722-2400 or 508-397-9941
• Carried in the Senate by Sen. Bruce Tarr, 617-722-1600 (originally by U.S. Sen. Scott Brown)
• Passed by the House, 155-1, March 3, 2010
• Passed by the Senate without opposition on a voice vote, April 1
• Signed into law April 22
Inspired new federal legislation:
HR 5422 would make states with laws banning devocalization of dogs and cats eligible for grants of up to $1 million for humane education and care of homeless animals. Sponsor: Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-MD, 2d District, 202-225-3061.
WHO IS LOGAN ANYWAY?
A proud show dog, devocalized and dumped: Logan’s breeder had her dogs devocalized to
run her business in a quiet residential neighborhood; she gave him up when he stopped winning ribbons. His rescuer, Gayle Fitzpatrick, founder, Friends of the Plymouth Pound, says her adopted pet rasped, retched and gagged relentlessly as a result of devocalization till the day he died.
Logan did nothing to deserve this," says Fitzpatrick. "His vocal cords were cut for one
reason only: his breeder’s greed.
WHY WOULD BREEDERS DEVOCALIZE?
Some breeders devocalize to keep many dogs without complaints from authorities; others like to profit from but not hear their own animals,
explains Leslie Burg, a former Newton alderman and a core member of Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets. Who else would do this to a helpless animal?
keep dogs quiet in the ring and in transit between shows. Sled dog hobbyists, because dogs typically bark more in groups—and Huskies are a barky breed. Some dog fighters, animal hoarders and biotech labs that test on dogs and cats also devocalize. According to Burg: Show dog exhibitors, to
“Of the hundreds of devocalized dogs—and a few cats—we’ve discovered in Massachusetts
in a year of campaigning for Logan’s Law, only a handful were devocalized by pet owners.
Sadly, not all realized the pain and suffering their pets would experience,” Burg says. “As
with declawing, some vets don’t explain risks and potential complications of devocalization.”
KEEPING CRUELTY UNDER THE RADAR
Few who order or perform devocalization voluntarily disclose it, because it is widely considered inhumane, says Burg, adding that it is easy to hide. “Unlike docked tails or cropped ears, cut
vocal cords aren’t visible, so people assume these animals have laryngitis. Who’d imagine someone had an animal's vocal cords cut to deal with barking or meowing? It’s hard to fathom."
SHELTERS, VETERINARIANS TESTIFY:
SERIOUS RISKS, NO BENEFIT FOR ANIMALS—NOT EVEN A SECURE HOME
More than 50 pieces of testimony submitted to the legislature by shelter executives, prominent veterinarians and animal behavior experts concurred: Cutting an animal’s vocal cords by any means for any purpose except to treat disease, injury or birth defects, as allowed by Logan’s Law, is an act of cruelty. Veterinarians testified
: No matter how the vocal cords are cut or how experienced the vet, animals face serious, even life-threatening risks. They can be compromised for life or die by choking, aspiration pneumonia, heat stroke or surgical complications. (See Expert Perspectives) Shelter execs testified
: Devocalized animals are abandoned like any other. Surgically altering animals to manage behavior—whether devocalization or declawing—does not keep them out of shelters. (See Shelter Perspectives)
"A dog’s or cat’s best chance is with an owner who chooses, houses, trains and cares
for pets responsibly and humanely—and for whom the animal is a companion, not a profit center," according to Friends of the Plymouth Pound's Gayle Fitzpatrick, a rescue volunteer for 30 years.
“Some breeds are more vocal than others, and most vocalize more in groups. Responsible people don’t run breeding operations or put naturally barky breeds where noise is not tolerated.
Fitzpatrick adds: “Frequent vocalization is a often distress call; the animal is bored, lonely, anxious or in physical discomfort. Vocal cord surgery doesn’t change the distress. It just makes it easy for the owner to ignore until it escalates. What do you think happens to the devocalized pet then—or when he’s no longer profitable for his breeder?
Logan's Law was sponsored by
Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets,
an unfunded, all-volunteer network of Massachusetts
pet owners and other concerned individuals.
It was endorsed by
Animal Law Coalition
Boston Dogs Organization
Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and
more than 200 Massachusetts veterinarians
New England Federation of Humane Societies
Animal Umbrella, Revere Baypath Humane Society, Hopkinton Berkshire Humane Society, Pittsfield Billerica Cat Care Coalition, Billerica Boston Dog Rescue, Boston Buddy Dog Humane Society, Sudbury Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, Springfield Dog Orphans, Douglas Forever Paws Animal Shelter, Fall River Friends of the Plymouth Pound, Plymouth Ipswich Humane Group, Ipswich Kitty Connection, Medford Marblehead Animal Shelter, Marblehead MassPAWS, Winthrop
Melrose Humane Society, Melrose MetroWest Humane Society, Ashland MSPCA-Angell, Boston New England Animal Rescue, Middleboro New England Society for Abandoned Animals, Osterville Norfolk County Humane Society, Canton Northeast Animal Shelter, Salem Poodle Rescue of New England, Somerville Save A Dog, Sudbury South Shore Humane Society, Braintree Standish Humane Society, Duxbury Sterling Animal Shelter, Sterling Tiny Tigers Feline Rescue, Groton Underdog ResQ, Boston Worcester Animal Rescue League, Worcester
● Laura Allen, Esq., Executive Director, Animal Law Coalition, 607-269-0018
● Dr. Joel M. Woolfson, DVM, DACVS, Board-Certified Veterinary Surgeon, 617-549-5991 ● Dr. Nicholas Dodman, DVA, DACVB, DACVA, Board-Certified Veterinary Behaviorist and
Anesthesiologist, 508-887-4640, 508-887-4665 ● Dr. Barbara Hodges, DVM, MBA, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association ● Pat Miller, CDBC, CPDT; Past President, Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Two powerful lobbies that profit from devocalization opposed Logan’s Law: Mass. Veterinary Medical Association, with members who perform this surgery to suppress an animal’s voice, and dog breeders (AKC and Mass. Federation of Dog Clubs), who order it to facilitate their businesses.
It is a credit to Beacon Hill that lawmakers overwhelmingly passed Logan’s Law based
on the facts of devocalization—and the majority voice of ordinary citizens, who consider medically unnecessary vocal cord surgery on a dog or cat no less than an act of cruelty.