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Yesterday, due to some late procedural moves, the New York Senate passed a statewide ban on “debarking” – a veterinary practice also known as bark softening – unless it is medically necessary to treat an injury, illness, or congenital defect.

The bill now goes to the Assembly, where it has been assigned to the Assembly Agriculture Committee.  While there are likely only a couple days left in session, it is essential for New York residents to contact their Assemblymember TODAY and let them know you are a constituent who opposes Senate Bill 9445.  Use the online Member search tool to find the name and contact information for your State Assemblymember.

The AKC opposes Senate Bill 9445, which would restrict the rights of responsible dog owners to make viable, safe decisions on behalf of their pets in conjunction with their veterinarians.  It also could force some owners to relinquish their dogs to shelters as opposed to keeping them in their homes.

Talking Points:

There is much misinformation about the veterinary procedure of debarking. Debarking is a viable veterinary procedure that may allow a dog owner to keep a dog in its loving home rather than to be forced to euthanize or surrender it to a shelter when the pet’s noisy behavior continually disrupts the community.

Debarking should only be performed by a qualified veterinarian after behavioral efforts to correct a dog’s excessive barking have failed. As with other veterinary medical decisions, the decision to debark a dog is best left to individual owners and their veterinarians.

Visit the key issue page in the AKC Government Relations Legislative Action Center for AKC’s official position on this issue, as well as other talking points.

AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will continue to closely monitor this legislation and provide updates as they become available. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at