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Thank you, Senator Mark C. Montigny, for introducing S.169, "An Act prohibiting inhumane feline declawing" that will add declawing, or onychectomy, to the list of animal cruelty offenses in Massachusetts.

Declawing is amputation, whether performed by scalpel, clippers, or laser. We believe there is never a reason to declaw for non-therapeutic reasons (that is, unless surgery were necessary to treat animals' medical conditions).  Declawing does not keep cats in homes, a fact acknowledged by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).   Eight cities in California - Los Angeles, San Francisco, West Hollywood, Burbank, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, and Culver City - plus the City and County of Denver, Colorado have enacted declaw bans. Veterinarians in the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador have rejected declawing as unethical and inhumane. 

Statistics publicly available from the California cities having declaw bans indicate that the relinquishment of cats to shelters in those cities, in the years since the bans were enacted, has not increased - in fact, the number of cats dumped in shelters has DECREASED consistently in the eight to 15 years since the laws went into effect.

There is no reason to declaw cats to protect human health.  The NIH, CDC, US Public Health Service, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the Canadian Medical Association, all have specifically stated that the declawing is "not advised," even for the animals of persons who are severely immunocompromised, including those with HIV.  This opinion is echoed in statements on declawing published by the AAHA and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP).  

We hope your bill will be successful and be a model for humane legislation in other states.