Landlord Dog Debark Bill Vetoed in California

Bill would have prohibited landlords from requiring declawing or debarking of tenants’ animals.

Puppy and KittenCalifornia Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a bill late last week that would have prohibited landlords from requiring tenants or potential tenants to declaw or devocalize their dogs or cats as a condition of occupancy.

“I support the goal of this bill, which would preclude landlords from making inappropriate medical decisions as a condition of occupancy,” Schwarzenegger said in his veto message. “However, I cannot sign a measure that contains findings and declarations by the Legislature that are unsupported by science.

“In addition, this measure suggests that declawing should be prohibited for any ‘non-therapeutic’ reason, which would include the legitimate medical needs of a pet owner. Regrettably, this bill goes too far in attempting to deal with inappropriate demands by landlords. For these reasons, I am unable to sign this bill.”

AB 2743, introduced by Assemblyman Pedro Nava in February, contended that declawing and devocalization have irreversible effects on the animals.

It also stated that such procedures may have the unintended consequence of creating potential public health and safety concerns. For example, there may be a safety risk to police officers posed by a devocalized guard dog present on property that law enforcement officers have legal cause to enter, according to the bill.

Increased aggression and litter box avoidance by declawed cats was another example the bill gave.

“I am very disappointed that the Governor vetoed my bill,” Nava said. “Declawing and devocalization … can have severe complications for animals, and emotional and financial consequences for pet owners. Through hard work, we were able to reach a compromise that was acceptable to California apartment building owners and animal lovers. The only opposition to my measure came from those with a financial interest in performing these surgeries, which are increasingly being viewed as outdated and cruel.”

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