Please End Declawing in West Virginia

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Thank you, West Virginia Delegate Rodney Pyles. We hope you will re-introduce legislation that would prohibit onychetomy (or declawing) and tendonectomy in West Virginia.

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, Burbank, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, and Culver City - 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, Delegate Pyles. We hope your bill will be successful and will be a model for humane legislation in other states.



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