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Yesterday, a late procedural move advanced a bill in the New York Senate that would ban “debarking” – a veterinary practice also known as bark softening – in the state unless it is medically necessary to treat an injury, illness, or congenital defect.

The AKC opposes Senate Bill 1125, 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 home.

New York residents are strongly encouraged to contact their State Senator today, and ask them to not allow Senate Bill 1130 to advance.  Use the “Find Your Senator” tool on the New York Senate website to find the name and contact information for your State Senator.

Talking Points:

There is much misinformation about the veterinary surgical 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