Round Of A-Paws: Cat Declawing Ban Bill Passes In NY
Cats should give the Empire State a round of a-paws. The state Legislature passed a bill Tuesday that would make New York the nation’s first to ban the declawing of cats.
The measure would threaten a $1,000 fine against anyone who performs a medically unnecessary declawing procedure, which state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal called a “horrific” surgery that causes felines lifelong pain and discomfort.
“Today though, every cat and kitten in New York State lands on its feet as we prepare to make New York the best state for cats to live in the United States,” Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the bill, said in a statement.
The bill will now be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk. A spokesman for the Democratic governor did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but his representatives told the Associated Press that he would review the legislation.
Declawing generally removes the last bone from each of a cat’s toes. While pet owners often have their cats declawed to prevent them from scratching, the Humane Society compares the procedure to cutting off human fingers at the first knuckle. In addition to pain, declawing can cause cats to stop using a litter box or to resort to biting because they lack claws for defense, the organization says.
Nations such as Switzerland, Israel and the United Kingdom have all banned cat declawing, as have almost 10 cities in California, according to a state Senate bill memo. New York’s ban would make an exception for declawing that’s needed to address medical conditions.
Animal-rights advocates hailed the bill’s passage as a big victory for feline New Yorkers.
“This bill’s passage in New York is a watershed moment for the declaw issue, and we hope other states will follow suit by prohibiting this unnecessary convenience surgery,” Humane Society President and CEO Kitty Block said in a statement.
But the effort has drawn concerns from the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, an association of licensed veterinarians in the state. The group opposes legislation to ban declawing, as it “believes the decision to declaw or not declaw a pet should be made by the pet owner in consultation with his or her veterinarian,” according to its website.
By Noah Manskar [Patch]