If you’re against declawing cats, you’ll be happy to know that New York has just passed state legislation that makes declawing illegal. This means that it would be the first state to outlaw the practice.
If you’re not aware of what it is – declawing is the practice of removing a cat’s claws in order to prevent scratching. According to the Humane Society, the process usually involves removing the last bone of each toe on the cat’s paw. Activists say that declawing is an extremely painful and very needless process to subject a cat too. The Humane Society recommends that the procedure should only be reserved for dire circumstances, like when the cat’s health is affected.
Linda Rosenthal, a New York State Assembly member, is the main sponsor of bill A01303. Rosenthal has previously proposed similar legislation for several sessions going back as far as 2015.
The bill now will go to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
If the bill becomes law, the penalty for declawing a cat will be a fine “not to exceed $1,000.” The bill will also make exceptions for “therapeutic purpose(s),” such as treatments of illnesses or diseases.
Rosenthal provided a statement to CNN, saying, “Declawing a cat is not like getting a mani/pedi, it’s a brutal surgical procedure that involves removing the first bone of the cat’s toe and part of the tendons and muscles. Now that New York is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban cat declawing, the days when this procedure is cavalierly offered for the convenience of the owners to protect couches and curtain are numbered.”
Rosenthal has a history of sponsoring animal rights-related legislation, which including bills which aim to curtail the sale of cats, dogs and other pets in pet stores, as well as the creation of an animal abuse registry.
Despite general opposition of declawing, there are some veterinary professionals who are arguing the practice shouldn’t be outlawed.
The New York State Veterinary Medical Society opposes the measure, saying that there are some situations that require declawing.
“Many doctors direct that their patients have their cats declawed when they are immuno-compromised, diabetic, hemophiliac, on immune suppressing medication, and for various other medical reasons,” said a statement provided to CNN from the NYSVMS.
“NYSVMS believes a veterinarian, as a licensed medical professional with the education and knowledge to safely perform medical procedures on animals, should be permitted to make medical decisions after direct consultation with a client and a thorough examination of the patient and its home circumstances.”
Declawing is illegal in a few countries, as well as a few cities across the US like Denver and San Francisco. A similar bill looking to ban declawing statewide is currently making its way through California’s legislature.