The following article is contributed by Samantha Walton with the good intention of educating the public as well as pet owners. Many thanks Samantha for your kind thoughts!
by Samantha Walton
Declawing, debarking, and docking your pet is wrong. I know I should be taking a debative stance on such controversial topics, but I don't want to. It's wrong. There is no two ways about it. Declawing your cat might mean that your couches and clothes stay unscratched. Good for you. But can you imagine having the tips of your fingers cut off? Because that's what it is. The claw goes well beyond the nail you can see, just like ours. Look at your hand. Where does the nail start? Imagine having a massive nail clipper cut through the bone of your finger to rid you of that nail so that you are more convenient to your owner. That is how the operation is done. How is that fair?
Debarking is the same! So you wanted a small, dependent dog. Yes, it yaps. It's designed to, to get your attention, or to communicate that it is excited, or scared, or threatened. Dogs bark. It's what they do. The debarking operation is essentially scraping the vocal chords of your beloved pet so that they don't make as much noise. How about seeing to your pets' needs instead? I met a debarked toy poodle once who was terrified of the noise that came out of itself, so would bark to intimidate whatever was making that noise... not realising it was himself! He wasn't a recent debarked dog either, he had been debarked for two years. He still hadn't gotten used to it. Debarking is a temporary solution to an easily solved communication problem. Teach your dog to bark (speak!) and then you can teach it not to (quiet!). If you just debark the animal, then the misbehaviour will surface in other ways, making your life, and your pets', miserable.
Docking tails because they are too long is another travesty. How cruel. Why? Because it gets in the way? Because it looks better without? Why? What possible reason could you have for removing a healthy appendage from your pet? It's ridiculous. People also dock dogs' ears. I cannot for the life of me understand why people would do this. At all.
These operations all have something in common: they are all painful, life-altering, completely unnecessary and unfair attempts to make the pet more 'convenient' for the owner. How about this: if your cat keeps clawing the couches, buy it a scratching post. I can guarantee it would be cheaper than the declawing operation! And if that's not the reason you want a clawless pet? Get a goldfish. A fluffy clawless pet? Go for a hamster or a rabbit. As for debarking, why did you get a dog if you wanted a silent creature? Maybe a tortoise would suit you better. As for the docking, well, rabbits already have a bobtail, don't they!
What's next? 'Stumping' operations for dogs who run too fast: chop off their feet? Or perhaps your animal is flatulent: remove their bowels? Perhaps feeding them costs too much: remove their stomach? These are all over-the-top exaggerated examples, but to me, docking, debarking and declawing are equally over-the-top and ridiculous, and they need to stop!
Why would you want to share your life with an animal, and then strive to make it as un-animal-like as possible? Why don't you just make a human friend? I'm sure the animal would much prefer being with someone who wasn't going to chop off its bits, or scrape its internals. Leave the poor thing alone and buy it a scratching post, buy yourself some ear-plugs (or perhaps don't get a yappy dog if you live in an apartment building!), and move everything to a table where your rottweiler's sweeping tail won't knock everything off. Or, if this is too much like work, don't get a pet. Buy a teddy bear and stop complaining that your animal is being animalistic.