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Thank you, Representative Amish Shah, M.D., for introducing HB2626, which would make non-therapeutic declawing illegal in Arizona. Similar legislation has been enacted in New York, and the time is right to do the right thing by ending this inhumane and unnecessary practice.

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 St. Louis, MO the City and County of Denver, CO have enacted declaw bans. Declawing was banned in the state of New York in 2019.  Veterinarians in the seven Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, New Brunswick, Manitoba, 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 ten to 18 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.