We Support New York's Anti-Declaw Bills A595 (Rosenthal) and S3376 (Griffo)

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Thank you, New York Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and Senator Joseph Griffo for introducing legislation that would prohibit onychectomy (or declawing) and tendonectomy in New York state. We support your New York Anti-Declaw Bills A595 and S3376, which would forbid declawing in the state of New York and provides for a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for violations of the law.

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).  Declawing is illegal or considered unethical by the veterinary profession in most of the world.  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.  Statistics from those cities 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 many 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). Declaw-type procedures to treat tumor, infection, disease, or injury would be allowed to benefit the health of the cat.

Thank you, Assemblymember Rosenthal and Senator Griffo. We hope your bills will be successful and will be models for humane legislation in other states.

These bills have been re-introduced by the authors. The previous bill numbers in earlier sessions were A1297 and S5084.

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