Unlicensed Chinese vet ordered to stop offering ‘debarking’ operations to dog owners

Surgery to silence animals by cutting their vocal cords was conducted in a marketplace

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 September, 2017, 1:54pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 September, 2017, 1:54pm

A man who offered to silence dogs by cutting their vocal cords in southwest China has been ordered to stop after photos of the bloody procedures were released online.

The man, who claimed to be an unlicensed amateur vet, argued that all he did was help pet owners and their neighbours who were annoyed by the animals’ incessant barking, Chengdu Economic Daily reported.

Internet users, as well as veterinary professionals said that the “debarking” surgery conducted in an open market in Sichuan was cruel and was a public health risk.

The whole procedure was conducted on an old table in a flower and bird market in Chengdu’s northeastern Qingbaijiang district.

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Before the operation the man, identified only by his surname Zeng, anaesthetised the dog with an injection into one of its legs.

He used two ropes to force the sleeping dog to open its mouth and then carried out the procedure with tools that included forceps and a flashlight.

Zeng told the newspaper that he ran a pet shop and learned the “skills” many years ago.

He usually charged between 50 and 100 yuan (US$7.60-15.20) for each dog, and each procedure took about five minutes.

One owner who took her “teddy bear” puppy to Zeng told the newspaper that her family and neighbours could not bear its yapping any more.

“It’s much better [to cut the vocal cords] than abandoning it, right?” she said, when asked if she felt the procedure was too brutal.

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But animal lovers and qualified vets disagreed.

Ye Wenjie, an assistant vet in Chengdu, expressed concerns about sanitation and warned that the tools the man used did not appear to have been sterilised.

“Without a clean environment, the procedure not only risks the dogs’ lives but also residents’ health.”

Ye also suggested that the owners could take their dogs to a training centre rather than resort to surgery, adding: “Barking is a behaviour that can be changed after training.”

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The photos also outraged some internet users. “This is too brutal,” one Weibo user wrote, “you can’t just pull out its teeth if a dog likes to bite.”

Chinese regulations state that anyone who performs medical procedures on an animal must have a licence.

Regulators have confiscated the tools from the man and an investigation is under way, the newspaper reported.