The bill (A3899), which was introduced this month by Assemblyman Troy Singleton, would ban declawing cats and other animals, with exceptions for cases where the procedure is deemed medically necessary to treat an underlying condition.
Otherwise, performing the procedure, or seeking it out, will be considered an animal cruelty offense under state law and could result in six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Violators could also be subject to civil penalty fines that range from $500 to $2,000.
New York’s bill was unfortunately stalled earlier this month, but efforts to get it passed there are still ongoing. Meanwhile, passing New Jersey’s version would be a huge victory for the state’s resident cats. While some try to pass off the procedure as a minor one that just removes a cat’s nails, for the cats who endure it, it’s anything but.
The procedure, which is formally known as an onychectomy, involves surgically removing the last joint in a cat’s toe to which the nail is attached. This bill will also ban flexor tendonectomies, which involves cutting the tendons that control the claws, leaving cats unable to flex or extend them.
While many cats find themselves the victims of this procedure because they scratch things , their advocates continue to point out this is a natural behavior for them whether we like it or not. As the bill notes, it’s seen as a quick fix, but it can cause “lasting physical problems and other consequences.”
Declawed cats might not be able to scratch anymore, but their inability to do so may also cause them to turn to other unwanted behaviors like avoiding the litter box and biting as a defense, and worse, they could have to live with harmful side effects like chronic pain for the rest of their lives as a result of the procedure.
There’s really no excuse for doing this to a cat for nothing more than the convenience of owners who value their inanimate possessions more than the physical and emotional well-being of their feline companions – especially considering the fact that there are a number of safe, humane and effective waysto get them to stop unwanted and destructive behaviors.
Hopefully, New Jersey lawmakers will recognize the severity and cruelty of these procedures and make theirs the first state to ban them.
Please sign and share the petition asking New Jersey lawmakers to step up as leaders who support the humane treatment of our companion animals by banning declawing.
You can also help by supporting compassionate vets who refuse to perform mutilating procedures on pets like declawing and devocalization. If you’re looking for a new one, Declaw.com has a state-by-state list of vets who have pledged not to declaw.
And if you’re state has not proposed a bill to ban declawing yet, start a petition targeting your state representatives and rally support from fellow Care2 members.