On Monday November 14, 2016 the Assembly committee cleared a bill which would add onychetomy - the medical term for declawing - to the list of criminal animal cruelty offenses. The only exceptions would be for medical purposes.
Any veterinarian caught declawing a cat and their owners would face a fine of up to $1000 or six months in jail. According to the bill, they would also face a civil penalty of $500 to $2000.
Why would anyone want to declaw a cat? It's typically done to prevent cat from shredding furniture or other household property, or to control behavioral issues with other cats.
For awhile, animal welfare organizations have opposed the practice, stating that it is a very painful procedure for the cat - similar to cutting off the top part of a finger. Some cats that have been declawed experience personality changes as well as discomfort using the litter box.
Discover a less painful alternate to declawing your cat.
Many animal rights advocates have called declawing an "invasive surgery" that puts cats at risk for pain and lameness. Imagine having an urge to scratch but not being able because your finger nails have been removed.
On the opposite spectrum, some veterinarian doctors have said when done correctly, the declawing procedure does not harm the animal. Michael Yurkus, a member of the New Jersey Veterinary Association, "Only the claw bed is removed. We do not cut bone, and the pain medicine that is available today was not available decades ago."
"We are not pro-declaw, but we want to prevent them from being relinquished" and eventually euthanized, states Yurkus, speaking on behalf of the Association. "We feel this is between a licensed vet and the client, and should not be regulated by the government."
At the hearing both sides weighed in with reasons why the anti declawing bill should or should not be passed. The committee ultimately approved the bill, making New Jersey the first state to scratch the procedure. Time will tell whether other states will begin to follow suit.
The discussion continues...
Do you think that declawing of cats a cruel procedure that should be banned in the United States?
If your cat is destroying your furniture and other household items with its claws, check out this solution that's far less invasion than declawing.