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Gianaris Introduces Bill to Ban “Devocalization” Surgeries on Household Pets

Gianaris holds a press conference with the ASPCA in April looking to get support for his bills that aim to reduce animal cruelty

Dec. 16, 2019 By Kristen Torres

A Queens lawmaker has introduced legislation to ban “devocalization” surgeries on household pets — a procedure that leaves cats and dogs unable to communicate.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents western Queens, announced the legislation on Dec. 14 while speaking at PetCon NYC — a nationwide conference for animal rights leaders and influencers.

“We need to be the voice of animals who cannot speak for themselves,” said Senator Gianaris in a statement. “With this ban, we fight back against a violent procedure meant to convenience humans at great pain to their companions.”

Devocalization surgery removes an animal’s ability to bark or meow by taking out vocal cord tissue. The procedure can lead to respiratory issues and psychological damage, according to a statement by Gianaris.

New York Assembly Member Ken Zebrowski introduced a companion bill early this year, which will also restrict the performance of surgical devocalization procedures on dogs and cats.

Animal rights leaders throughout the city are backing Gianaris’ legislation.

“Barking is a way for a dog to let their humans know there’s a problem,” said Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. “Barking is part of a dog’s behavior. Good training can stop unnecessary barking. There’s no need to put any animal through unnecessary surgery that is a potential health hazard.”

Gianaris passed legislation earlier this year—that has become law—prohibiting the practice of declawing cats.

He also introduced legislation that would ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores across New York State. That bill did not make it to the floor for a vote.

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Debra K Boggs

Cutting an animals vocal cords has got to be the cruelest & most inhumane act I have ever heard of. I had no idea it exsisted and it makes me sick. Anyone that would do such a thing should not be allowed to own a animal of any kind. It makes me so angry that i feel the owner should have his throat cut as well.


How is it legal to spay or neuter a dog or cat, but they want to make it illegal to remove vocal cords? How is one more cruel then the other. I write this as I listen to my neighbors new dog that howls, barks and cries for hours when she is away. This has been going on for a 3 weeks. Everyone has been calling even the landlord next door. The owner of the dog doesnt seem to care because it doesnt bother her. Another person who doesnt understand the responsibility that comes with pet ownership, they just think its cute when it’s a puppy.


So clipping a dogs balls ok even recommended, but clipping vocal cords your a bad person.?? People do a lot of things to animals to make them fit our life styles and make our lives easier and more enjoyable.

Humans Suck

Oh then don’t have human kids that laugh scream yell and run around either!!! Seriously I have heard it all now. Ok so New York won’t declaw but it will rip your vocal chords out. Insane! It’s up to the human that has the responsibilities to train their animal which can be done. But nooooo that is tooo hard so ripping out their vocal chords is easier? Omg

Nurse Ratchet

So do you with your loud TV, music, door slamming, heavy footsteps and screaming from night terrors.

Queens worst friend

Aha- now it makes sense. Last week AOC in congress compared puppy raising to child raising at a maternity (fact) level and Gianaris not to be out done gets in on the gig. He cant represent his constituents and now hes howling about animals. what a pathetic individual. At least Van bramer is sticking with the bike lanes

Rin Tin Tin

a society should be judged by how it treats its elderly, children and animals. Do us all a favor and don’t get a pet, you seem like the kind of fool that would dump it at the first inconvenience you experience.

Debra K Boggs

Cats stink & spread disease. Cat owners think its fine to let their cats roam that causes a lot of barking. Keep your cat in your area like dog owners do.


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