Dogs illegally 'debarked' seized by Pennsylvania SPCA

The Pennsylvania SPCA removed 15 dogs from an unlicensed breeder in Lancaster after humane law-enforcement officers found that some of them had been illegally “debarked.”

State law prohibits devocalization, also known as debarking, of a dog unless the procedure is performed by a licensed veterinarian using anesthesia, said Gillian Kocher, spokeswoman for the PSPCA.

The officers, acting on a tip that an adult female husky had been debarked, removed the dogs from the Quarryville breeder last Friday, and brought them to the organization’s Philadelphia headquarters to be examined and treated. The debarked dogs included the husky, named Rosella, a Doberman Pinscher, and a third dog.

“They were actually debarked by pushing a pipe-type object down the throat multiple times to damage the vocal cords,” Kocher said.

“The manner in which these dogs were devocalized is concerning on many levels, not the least of which is that it is illegal,” Nicole Wilson, PSPCA director of humane law enforcement, said in a statement. “These animals were debarked because it was a nuisance, and the inhumane manner in which the act was carried out can carry a felony charge. We will continue our investigation and press charges to the fullest extent allowed by the law in an effort to ensure this never happens again.”

Some of the dogs are now in foster care, Kocher said. They all will be put up for adoption.

Anyone with information about animal cruelty can call the Pennsylvania SPCA’s cruelty hotline at (866) 601-SPCA. Tips can be left anonymously.