Crazy Neighbors Demand Dog Surgically Debarked

Like chainsmokers and serial renovators, noisy dogs make bad neighbors. Citronella collars and extra training are the traditional measures of last resort. But is debarking surgery staging a comeback?

This morning's New York Times has a front page story about an Upper East Side family that surgically debarked their daschund-terrier mix for their co-op 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," writes The Times.

BrickUnderground suspects there may be more to the story, noting that the mere threat of a complaint to the board is not particularly menacing to most New Yorkers.
In fact, no matter how annoying a dog is, a 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 have become increasingly less supportive of these types of efforts.

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.

Teri Karush Rogers is the founder and editorial director of BrickUnderground, a website for NYC apartment dwellers.

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