Just last month, we brought you a story focusing on the issue of cat declawing and the attempts of campaigners to have it banned in New York. The state was set to be the very first to prohibit the practice, in fact. Now, however, New Jersey is lobbying to be the very first state, with Jersey Assemblyman Troy Singleton sponsoring legislation that would add declawing to a list of existing animal cruelty offences. If the bill is passed, any vet caught performing onychetomy, or declawing, or those seeking the procedure for their pets, could face up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine – a penalty that some argue is reflective of the discomfort caused to cats that are subjected to declawing.
Hilary Beckett, Singleton's chief of staff, said in a statement that declawing "may be the quick answer but it's not the humane one. It's akin to amputating the first knuckle on a human hand. It's not just removing a claw, it's part of the paw." Documentation did reveal that those seeking or performing declawing procedures for medical reasons would be exempt from punishment.
As well as the worry of hurting cats, declawing could cause further issues for pets, claimed Humane Society of the United States Director of Cat Protection and Policy Katie Lisnik. Declawing, she said, could cause cats to bite instead, or cause them discomfort when using a litter box. It is estimated that between 19% and 46% of US cats are declawed. "Vets argue they do it as a last resort. Those numbers would beg to differ," she concluded.
Singleton was apparently inspired to push legislation after reading about New York's proposed ban on cat declawing, which aimed to be the first statewide prohibition. If successful, New Jersey could overtake New York to be the first – perhaps of many.
We'd love to hear your views on this matter; is declawing something you'd ever consider?