Anti-Declawing Bill Makes its Way Through NY State Assembly


New York might become the first state to pass legislative measures making it illegal to declaw a cat. Recently, the bill was advanced by the Agriculture & Markets Committee and continues to make its way through the NY State Assembly. While cities in California and other countries such as Switzerland, Israel and the U.K. already ban declawing, if passed, this bill would make New York the first state to prohibit the inhumane practice and impose a penalty up to $1,000 for those who violate the law.


While there are already many veterinarians who already refuse to perform an onychectomy (declawing), the inhumane option is still available under the law until the bill is passed. In addition, the bill does continue to allow for declawing if it serves a therapeutic purpose related to the medical needs of a cat. The intention of the bill is to ban declawing for the convenience of a cat’s handlers; for handlers who wish merely to prevent the scratching of furniture; or for other non-medical and aesthetic purposes.


While there are a few methods of declawing, an onychectomy is basically a highly painful procedure that involves amputation. Not only is the cat’s claw removed, but the cat’s foot structure is altered--part of the bone from which the claw grows is removed during the procedure. Even after the procedure, cats can continue to feel sharp pain from the amputation and can develop severe infections. Declawed cats can also develop gait problems and an increase in biting behaviors.


Clawing in cats is a normal and healthy behavior. It is recommended that cats have scratch posts available to them so that they can exercise their natural scratching and clawing instincts.


The Law Office of Jessica M. Semins is available to handle matters related to Animal Law and Pet Law including pet custody disputes, pet trusts, landlord-tenant issues, service animals, emotional support animals, neighbor disputes, pet trusts, negligence, wrongful acts and other animal and pet related matters. If you believe that you may have a legal claim related to your animal or pet issue, it is best to speak with an attorney who can provide you with legal guidance. Contact the Law Office of Jessica M. Semins for a consultation by calling (646) 397-6844. Consultations are by appointment only and can be scheduled at the Manhattan or Melville, Long Island offices for the convenience of clients.


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Attorney Advertising.  The content contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor form an attorney-client relationship. (c) 2019 The Law Office of Jessica M. Semins, Jessica M. Semins, Esq.