If you love cats, you will probably appreciate what the New York state legislators did.
They passed, by a wide margin on June 4, a bill that would impose a $1,000 fine on veterinarians who perform the procedure for non-medical purposes.
That means pet owners in the state would no longer be able to have their cats declawed for cosmetic, aesthetic and other ostensible reasons.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D-New York) indicated he will review the measure before making a decision.
One of several lawmakers to champion the measure, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) was visibly jubilant after the vote. She has previously rallied against declawing and condemned its invasive nature in a statement.
“It is not like getting a mani/pedi,” she said. “It’s a brutal surgical procedure. The days when this procedure is cavalierly offered for the convenience of the owners to protect couches and curtains are numbered.”
Some estimate that 25% of cats in the United States are declawed. Veterinarians are generally divided on the issue.
The New York Veterinary Medical Society, for example, argues declawing should be allowed if a cat is using its claws destructively, or if a potential scratch could pose health risks to households that have people with weakened immune systems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends sanitation methods and selective pet ownership over declawing.
Several cities in the United States and the majority of Canadian provinces have banned declawing, according to Rosenthal.
The procedure is outlawed in Britain, Germany, Austria, Sweden and several other countries.
Acknowledging that New York is leading the way at the state level, Rosenthal said she hopes others will follow its lead. Lawmakers in California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and West Virginia are pushing to pass similar legislation.
What’s needed now is the invention of couches and curtains that can’t be clawed.