Will New York be the first US state to ban declawing?

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Animal advocates are applauding Legislature for passing bills prohibiting the elective declawing of cats in New York.

On June 4, 2019, the New York Assembly and Senate passed Bills A1303/S5532, which are now on their way to the final step before being passed. If Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the bills, New York would become the first state to pass a law against the elective and non-therapeutic declawing of cats. This prospect has many individuals and animal advocacy groups, such as The Paw Project and Alley Cat Allies, applauding.

“Cats rely on their nails, or claws, for behavioral and grooming needs,” says Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “For a cat, declawing is both psychologically and physically harmful because it is amputating the last bone on each of a cat’s toes. The surgery is traumatic and the resulting disfigurement causes severe pain. Many cats develop negative behaviors because of this and lose their home as a result.”

Alley Cat Allies worked closely with The Paw Project to urge legislators to pass the bills, and are holding out hope that Gov. Cuomo will sign them into law. “New York has set a new national standard for the humane treatment of cats with this decision,” said Dr. Jennifer Conrad, founder of The Paw Project. “I was honored to work on this bill with Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and Senator Michael Gianaris and am thrilled beyond measure to see it pass.”

At the time of this writing, declawing is already prohibited in nine US cities, seven Canadian provinces, and many countries including the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Germany. Anti-declaw legislation is currently being considered in California, New Jersey, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The Humane Society of The United States, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, and veterinarians all over the world have spoken out against the procedure.

To learn more about the declawing of cats and some humane alternatives, click here.