New Pet Positive Program Seeks to Change the Future for America’s Dogs and Cats

Published March 31, 2023
Austin, TX ( Friday Mar 31, 2023 @ 5:45 AM Pacific —

The National Pet Advocacy and Welfare Society (NPAWS) announced today the launch of its Pet Positive™ Veterinary Facility Certification Program. The national program and broader Pet Positive Movement are designed to end non-therapeutic invasive pet procedures that have long been considered normal in America. This comes as Illinois advances toward becoming the third U.S. state to ban declawing.

“We applaud Illinois on this important milestone in animal welfare and want to expand what they have achieved to spread awareness of these detrimental norms across the country,” says Olivia Wakeman, NPAWS’ founder. “Our hope is that the Pet Positive Movement will save the ears, tails, toes, and more of America's future pets from needless invasive procedures.”

The movement's first phase involves recognizing, applauding, and certifying American veterinary facilities that do not perform non-therapeutic invasive procedures on cats and dogs and spotlights their forward-thinking position. It also affirms that, while they adore the pets that have already been affected, they do not perpetuate medically unnecessary procedures. Spay- and neuter-related procedures are excluded as they moderate population and euthanasia rates. The certification process includes self-certification at and a nominal fee that propels the program.

“Ninety-five percent of owners consider their pets family. They love their pets and so do we,” said Wakeman. “ We understand that many of today’s pets have already undergone procedures like declawing, tail docking, or ear cropping. The procedures may have been performed before the pets found their forever homes. Many owners had no choice. Others may have been underinformed.”

“I’m passionate about animals,” says Genevieve Turnbull, former Registered Veterinary Technician and NPAWS volunteer. “One reason I left veterinary medicine is because I repeatedly saw the ravages of these normalized cruelties.”

Approximately 23 million domestic American cats (more than one in five) have been declawed, making it one of the most common medically unnecessary invasive veterinary procedures. Declawing requires cutting through bone to remove the distal portion of a cats’ toes. At least 63% of declawed cats suffer from pain from residual bone fragments. For those and additional cats, the amputations also increase the risk of developing unwanted behaviors, back pain, and even death.

"Facilities that join the movement can advance their practices while helping promote the wellbeing of America's pets for generations to come," says Wakeman. Among a list of benefits, certified facilities will be authorized to enhance their public presence using the “Pet Positive Certified” designation logo, certificate, and decal in their marketing efforts; will have a searchable listing as Pet Positive Certified on the NPAWS website; and, will gain additional attention through NPAWS’ nationwide marketing and social media efforts. A more intrinsic benefit is that certification fuels awareness with the intent to reduce and, eventually, eliminate these unnecessary American procedures.

“Performing non-therapeutic invasive procedures on pets is illegal in Europe,” says Wakeman. “Yet, while declawing is slowly being banned across the country, such practices as tail docking and ear cropping are still legal in every U.S. state. We aim to change that.”

Anyone can support the Pet Positive Movement by certifying, encouraging their vet to become certified, and requesting natural pets from breeders.

To learn more about the Pet Positive Movement and veterinary facility certification visit

NPAWS™ ( is changing the future for America’s pets by ending non-therapeutic invasive veterinary procedures in the United States. The 501(c)3 charitable organization is 100% volunteer-run and based in Austin, TX.

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