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article imageBill would ban declawing of cats in New York state

By Arthur Weinreb     May 19, 2016 in World
Albany - If the legislation passes, New York would become the first state to prohibit cats and other animals from being declawed. Opinion, even among veterinarians, is divided.
The bill was introduced in the Assembly in January of last year. To date, it has not left committee and with only 14 days left in the current legislative session, it is unlikely to be voted on any time soon. But Tuesday, supporters of the bill gathered in Albany for a press conference to argue for the bill's passage.
The bill would amend current laws to prohibit declawing of cats and other animals. While many are in favour of the bill's passage, others oppose it on the grounds the law would have negative unintended consequences for felines.
In a memo attached to the bill, the drafters point out that the declawing of an animal is more than simply removing its claws. It necessitates the removal of most of the last bone of the toes of the cat's front paws. As well, tendons, nerves and ligaments are severed. The removal of a cat's claws can result in other medical conditions including chronic pain, strain, infection and abscesses.
Some people want cats declawed to prevent them from scratching and damaging furniture or scratching people. However proponents of the bill such as Assemblyman John Ceretto argue cats can be trained not to scratch furniture. The problem is some people do not want to take the time to train their pets. There are also plastic coverings that can be put over cat's claws to prevent any real damage from being done.
Others, even though they do not think declawing an animal is a good thing, oppose the ban or take no position on the proposed law. The Erie County SPCA does not declaw felines but is taking a neutral stance concerning the bill. Spokesperson Gina Browning said while the society opposes unnecessary pain inflicted in animals they support finding safe homes for cats. Browning notes many people consider adopting a feline but do not want one unless it is declawed. She and others fear the passage of the bill will lead to an over-population of cats and and increase in euthanasia.
The New York State Veterinary Medical Society opposes the bill although agreeing declawing of an animal should be a last resort. In a position paper, the NYSVMS argued if done properly, declawing of a cat is no different than any other surgical procedure. And the bill would prevent a veterinarian from declawing a cat when the vet determines it is a suitable treatment option.
Although New York might become the first state to ban declawing, the practice is currently banned in 10 cities in California. Declawing is also prohibited in several other countries including Israel, Switzerland and the U.K.
More about Cats, declawing of cats, Animal cruelty, Spca, euthanasia cats
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