Poll: Declawing Cats OK, Debarking Dogs Is Not

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A majority of American pet owners say declawing a cat is acceptable but debarking a dog is not.

An Associated Press-Petside.com poll shows that 59 percent of American pet owners believe declawing is OK, but only 8 percent approve of debarking, the practice of having a dog’s vocal cords removed.

The ASPCA opposes declawing, debarking, defanging, ear cropping, tail docking or any elective surgery done to alter breed appearance or behavior.

Forty-seven percent of those polled would support a law against debarking, but only 18 percent would favor a declawing ban.

Thirty-two percent of the cat owners polled have had their pets declawed, while only 1 percent of dog owners have had their pets debarked.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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  • Jene Beausoleil

    A cat’s claws are to the cat what fingertips are to humans Therefore, to have a cat declawed is cruel. None of my cats are. And, yes, they scratch on my furniture, but that should be the consequence of owning such a companion. Britain has made declawing illegal – so should the U.S.!

  • Cat lover

    I can’t believe that people still do not understand that when you de-claw a cat you are cutting off the first knuckle – that they walk on. It can be incredibly painful. It’s a cruel, cruel thing and should be outlawed.

  • Astonished

    Where and when did they do this survey! I for one never heard about it! It is NOT okay to declaw a cat unless it is the only solution other than euthinasia! Declawing is a horrible psychological assault on an animal who depends on their claws to escape danger.

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  • Gael S

    I question the claim that the majority of pet owners oppose “debarking”. I wonder what the results would have been if the poll had been conducted at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held in NYC this past Monday and Tuesday. The interesting thing about a poll is one can manipulate the results by wording the question in a specific way. Since the poll described “debarking” as removal of a dog’s vocal cords, it manipulated the responses of those who don’t know that this is inaccurate in most cases. The surgery is quick, relative safe and does not leave a dog unable to bark… it merely reduces the volume and or pitch. Dogs can still bark and Australian researchers reported that bark softened dogs can be heard at distances of up to 65 feet.

    The surgery involves the vet anesthetizing the dog and going down the throat to make 1-2 small notches in the dog’s vocal folds. There are few complications; far fewer than dogs face when they undergo spay or neuter surgery and with far less inherent health risks as a result.

    Bark softening should not be a first response to a dog that barks excessively. But banning the procedure would place those dogs who do not respond to conventional training at risk of abandonment or euthanasia when owners are faced with complaints from neighbors, landlords or the police because of their barking dog(s).

    The opposition to bark softening has been spearheaded by animal rights groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, as evidenced by the proliferation of misinformation and blatant lies in the media about this procedure. Shame on the Associated Press for allowing themselves to be lead around on a choke collar.

  • Angel m.

    declawing a cat is wrong no matter what!!!!! Its just like cutting off the finger tips of a human. Debarking on the other hand is a quick and painless surgery. I have had 2 of my noisy chihuahuas debarked. They are still the same little poops they’ve always been.

  • joe r

    Declawing a cat is not like cutting off the human fingertips.Unless your fingernails are attached to an extra hinged joint the anatomy of a cat”s foot is different than a human. I have two wonderful happy well adjusted cats that were both declawed at the same time they were neutered.Thy have the run of the house and love to sit on my lap and knead away. They have no restrictions and have never needed discipline or training to alter or eliminate normal cat behavior.I have always had declawerd cats and it is not horrible and inhumane as the zealots would have you believe.
    What is cruel is to let your cat outdoors with all the traffic, predators and diseases. Cats are more than happy to be living in the comfort of a well kept home without having to defend themselves from harm.

  • Sam

    please this is so crazy, I am an animal lover had cats all my childhood and dogs 1/2 my life, I am 48, and 2 of my dogs were debarked and they still barked and loved life and lived to be sweet fun old dogs, they never missed their loud annoying barks and my neighbors and the police in my town where happier too ! Cats if you choose to have an indoor cat then yes, declaw them… once they are healed they are sweet loving animals. you only remove the front claws and it is NOT CRUEL !!! PEOPLE why dont you learn about these things before you go on a rant !!!

  • how to brush a cat

    Thanks for an entertaing read today. Cat brushes are particularly important at this time of year as cats are shedding their winter fur.

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