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New Jersey Assembly Panel Approves Cat Declawing Ban

By Aly Semigran    November 17, 2016 at 06:39PM / (3) comments

In what could become a landmark decision, the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in New Jersey approved of a bill (titled A3899/S2410) that would deem declawing an act of animal cruelty, except in cases where it is medically necessary. 


According to NJ.com, the bill states that "Veterinarians caught declawing a cat and people who seek them out would face a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail. Violators would also face a civil penalty of $500 to $2,000." 


The ban of the controversial procedure—in which the claw and, sometimes, the bony top of each finger or toe is removed—would be the first of its kind in the United States. The news has been met with varying responses from lawmakers and veterinary professionals. 


NJ.com reports that Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), who sponsored the bill, said in a statement: "Declawing is a barbaric practice that more often than not is done for the sake of convenience rather than necessity. Many countries worldwide acknowledge the inhumane nature of declawing, which causes extreme pain to cats. It's time for New Jersey to join them." Nicole Feddersen, medical director for the Monmouth County SPCA, also described it as an "invasive surgery," that puts cats "at risk for pain and lameness."


However, some medical professionals, including the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, oppose the bill. In a statement release to petMD, the NJVMA says that because so many pet parents who are unwilling or unable to change their cat's scratching behaviors, they are "likely to abandon or euthanize their cats if de-clawing is not an option. The NJVMA believes that de-clawing is preferable to abandonment or euthanasia." They also note that at-risk pet parents (including diabetics) can not run the risk of having a cat scratch them. 


The NJVMA cites that, "Veterinarians are the animal experts. Medical procedures should not be legislated but should be left as a decision between the owner and his or her veterinarian." They also argue that those opposed to declawing "generally reference outdated medical and pain management procedures. Modern veterinary medicine now provides much-improved pain management procedures and the utilization of laser surgery have improved both the outcome and recovery times for de-clawed cats." 


For some safe and effective alternatives to decalwing your cat, read up on these vet-suggested tips.


Image via Shutterstock 

Comments  3

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  • Declawing or not
    12/01/2016 09:44pm

    Too many cats need homes to put that kind of restriction in place. I had a cat declawed 20 years ago and he was fine. I wouldn't do it again but the one I now have was declawed before I got her and is fine with it. When the time comes for another one, I will search out and try to adopt one that is already declawed since they do come in to shelters, can never become outdoor cats again, and I keep mine indoors or in a harness with me outdoors. Getting them homes is most important, but we do need to understand the pain and detrimental facts better. Still, I would have to question if it is a legislative decision.

    12/01/2016 11:12pm

    This cruel maiming of cats should be banned everywhere! It is already banned in most countries. There is no need for this. There are MANY alternatives. Ask your vet! Your cat can't tell you if it bothers them or not, but if you have ever sliced off part of a finger, then you know the uncomfortable feeling you get when you touch that finger down on something. This is the same sensation that a cat has for the rest of it's life if it is declawed. They learn to live with it, but it isn't comfortable for them. Many, but not all, will not use a litter box because it is too uncomfortable to walk on the litter. Another problem is that if the cat gets outside--even an indoor cat can sneak out--it has absolutely no way to protect itself. If you would choose to not cut off the tips of your fingers, then don't do it to your cat!

    12/02/2016 01:24am

    I ended up homeless with my two sons when hubby abandoned us... i knew we were going to have to find a place to live and would be a shelter or an apartment but first i found the dog a place to live because i know if renting usually no dogs are accepted. So he is somewhere great having a great time. My one son took our only cat left to stay at a friends house in case i and his younger brother needed to go into a shelter boys his age would not be able to come, the older one was only 15. But this cat was another one i saved; the aspca was down the road and we lived a rural area so we would get a lot of cats and kittens dropped off. I saved this kitten from getting hit by a car. I have never paid for a cat they all have been rescues. She never got declawed but would claw up our desk chairs and door frames but our house was a mess anyhow so when i had to rent she still did it but things were donated to us because we had nothing but a lamp. we were in an apartment and i knew we could sneak our cat in lol.. then they brought me a very young kitten as Mother's day gift. I ended up going to do a house share with someone and didn't want to be blamed if the cats clawed up anything they were already freaking about the possibility and told me i needed to do something or they could not come in with us. [b]First i tried those nail covers! NO WAY AGAIN!! [/b]First the glue is toxic and the one cat when i finally got them on her she chewed them down with her own nails right down to a nub and ripped them off and bled from it....[b]it was the most[b] inhumane [/b]thing i have seen! plus they walked as if in extreme pain! Both of them did.. in fact the one refused to even walk until i took them back off.[/b] So when the one was 2yrs old and the other one was already 6 yrs old i had them declawed. Sure in the beginning they were sore but that was short lived they are still as active as ever and the one thinks she still has claws lol.. the house share didn't work and i found a place that would take the animals including a medium sized rescued dog.. if the cats were not declawed they would have not been taken. I feel if this is what you have to do to make sure your animals don't end up in the middle of the road hit by a car because they are homeless... then so be it. Plus i believe if you have a house cat they are just that do not let them go around outside alone and let them wondering around if not put them in a barn with the other cats... i feel i have saved all the cats in my life... i had a cat that died at 19 years old and one at 14 years old and they were very happy nails or not. My two now are 5 and 10 years old and have no problems at all, i did keep the back claws because when i investigated the issue found they defend themselves with the back claws and just in case they ended up outside by accident. Sooooo we as humans also get our sons circumcised and some people say they feel the pain and it should not be done??? i had my boys done, coming in the world could have been painful for them too so why do people harp at having that done when it can prevent infections and such??? they are adults now and have no idea of any pain...Me i remember my own lmao and cried from overwhelming love not the pain