A man assuming the work of a veterinarian had been cutting pet dogs’ vocal cords in southwestern China.
The man, surnamed Zeng, set up his business at a stall in a Chengdu market.
He was ordered to leave after authorities launched an investigation into his practice.
Chinese law prohibits veterinary operations on streets. Zeng is not a licensed veterinarian, and thus is not qualified to perform such operations, according to Chengdu Business Daily (via Weibo).
He told the outlet that he learned to perform the procedure — “debarking” — a few years ago after opening a pet shop.
Debarking, medically known as ventriculocordectomy or vocal cordectomy, is a controversial procedure that cuts tissue off an animal’s vocal cords to reduce the volume of its vocalizations.
Zeng begins the operation by putting a dog to sleep through anesthesia.
A “veterinary assistant” helps him by opening the dog’s mouth to make way for his flashlight, forceps and scissors.
The procedure, which lasts just around five minutes, costs around 50 to 100 yuan ($8 to $16).
Chengdu Business Daily found that Zeng’s working space is overwhelmingly unsanitary, as seen in photos of blood and used cotton left on the ground.
More alarmingly, Zeng does not sanitize his paraphernalia in between operations, which can increase the risk of infection between the dogs.
“Without a clean environment, the procedure not only risks the dogs’ lives but also residents’ health… Barking is a behavior that can be changed after training,” said Ye Wenjie, an assistant vet based in Chengdu, according to the South China Morning Post.
Many Chinese netizens expressed their disgust at the practice, with some commenting:
“As man’s companion, we must love dogs. How can such cruel deprivation of their ability to express take place?”
“Even if someone is qualified, this operation must not be done. It is plain selfish.”
“People sometimes speak quite noisy, can they be cut, too?”
Check out Zeng in action:
Photos via Chengdu Business Daily