This morning’s NY Times has an A1 story about
an Upper East Side family that surgically debarked their daschund-terrier mix for the neighbors. The dog’s vocal cords were apparently clipped “after a neighbor in the family’s apartment building on the Upper East Side threatened to complain to the co-op board about the noisy dog,” says the article. We suspect there may be more to the story, since in our experience, the mere threat of a complaint to the board is not particularly motivating to most New Yorkers. It’s also worth pointing out that no matter annoying a dog is, the co-op board can’t compel a resident to take a specific action, whether it’s hiring a trainer, using an anti-barking collar, or calling the surgeon. Boards do have the power to force the removal of the dog—or even the owner—for causing a nuisance. But that’s a fairly extreme measure, and New York courts are less and less supportive of efforts to remove pets.
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As for the surgery itself, the Times article says it results in a “muffled, raspy” bark. It quotes experts and owners who say the dogs heal quickly and don’t seem to mind their new sound.
Others say the procedure should be banned because it’s not medically necessary and that dogs sometimes need subsequent surgery if scar tissue builds up and interferes with breathing. Related links: Petiquette 101: Apartment manners for your dog Shut yer dog: How far can a board go? NYC co-ops going to the dogs My building doesn't allow dogs. What do I do? What if my puppy gets too big for my board?