New York Could Become First U.S. State To Ban Cat Declawing

Unsuccessful for two years, one lawmaker is determined to see a proposed bill banning the practice passed.

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One New York lawmaker wants a ban on declawing cats except when medically necessary. Via Pixabay

If New York advocates and some lawmakers have their way, the state would be the first in the nation to outlaw the declawing of cats, the Democrat & Chronicle reports.

On Tuesday, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) held a press conference in the state’s capitol to discuss her bill, which would ban declawing cats except when medically necessary.

“For humans not to respect the integrity of the animal and the animal’s body is criminal,” Rosenthal said during the conference, according to the newspaper. “However, it’s still allowed, it’s an option, and that’s why we aim to make it illegal.”

Rosenthal claims the procedure is more serious than many realize with portions of the animal’s bones, tendons and ligaments amputated as a result; and in most cases, is done as “a convenience to the owner.”

To declaw or not to declaw, that is the question. Via Pixabay

To declaw or not to declaw? That is the question. Via Pixabay

Reportedly, 130 New York veterinarians have said they support the proposed legislation, including Brian Shapiro, state director of the Humane Society of the United States.

“The act of declawing has no place in a humane society,” he told the Democrat & Chronicle. “Shelters should know, and vets do know.”

However, not everyone — including one group of veterinarians — is happy about Rosenthal’s bill.

In a memo to lawmakers earlier this month, a lobbyist for the New York State Veterinary Medical Society reportedly wrote: “(Declawing) is one method to allow a beloved feline companion to continue to live in a household rather than relinquishing the family pet to a shelter. Declawing should remain a viable alternative to euthanasia if all other options have failed.”

Veterinarian Eileen Jefferson disagrees, the newspaper reports, saying that when a cat is declawed it can cause long-term and short-term complications.

Most people don't mind kitty play, but as they grow, there are supporters of declawing cats. Via Pixabay

Most people don’t mind kitty play, but as they grow, there are supporters of declawing cats. Via Pixabay

“This always includes the pain of having 10 to 18 separate amputations performed in one day and, in addition to that, it can include other effects such as limping, hemorrhage, chronic pain and infection,” said Jefferson, who also is a member of Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.

Rosenthal has been unsuccessful in trying to pass the legislation for the past two years, but reportedly is continuing her fight this legislative session with the help of the bill’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Joseph Griffo (R-Rome, Oneida County).

According to the Democrat & Chronicle, there are six California cities — including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Monica — and countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand that already have outlawed the declawing of cats.

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