When Singapore’s housing authority recommended a dog owner to debark his pet, it didn’t anticipate that Singaporeans can bark even louder.

A suggestion by Singapore’s public housing authority that owners of noisy dogs consider “debarking” their pets to avoid inconveniencing neighbours has raised animal lovers’ hackles in the city-state and prompted much ridicule on social media.

The authority, the Housing and Development Board (HDB), recommended in a notice posted in a residential block that one option for dogs that will not keep quiet is to “debark” them.

Debarking involves removing a section of a dog’s vocal cord to reduce the volume of its bark and is recommended as a solution of “last resort” to control noisy pets, according to the website of Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority.

Animal welfare groups, however, have responded by saying the practice is cruel and unfair. “A dog also barks when it is in a stressed or anxious mode, and not hearing the dog does not mean the dog is in a stable state of mind,” the group Action For Singapore Dogs said in a Facebook post.

A screenshot posted by Action for Singapore Dogs' on their Facebook page of the original notice by Singapore's Housing and Development Board recommending dog owners to debark their pets as one of several measures they can take to stop barking nuisance.