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Thank you, Rhode Island State Representative William O'Brien, for introducing legislation that would add declawing, or onychectomy, to the list of animal cruelty offenses in Rhode Island.  Those who perform declawing would be in violation of the provisions of the Rhode Island Anti-Declaw Bill H7341.

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. Statistics publicly available 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 eight to 14 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).  

Thank you, Rep. William O'Brien, and your co-sponsors, Rep. Charlene Lima, Rep. Joseph Solomon, Rep. Deborah Fellela, and Rep. Patricia Serpa, we hope your bills will be successful and will be a model for humane legislation in other states. 

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