New York Takes a Lead in Feline Protection – Declawing of Cats is Banned in Our State
All too often, the end of lobbying on behalf of animals with NY State’s Assembly and Senate results with no successes, but this year we are delighted to report that the bill to prevent declawing cats (unless for health reasons) passed both the Assembly and Senate with huge support, and was signed into law by Governor Cuomo. As a result, New York has become the first state in the nation to prohibit this cruel practice, which may result in New York improving its national ranking in regard to animal protection from its current poor standing of 33 out of 50, as evaluated by the national Animal Legal Defense Fund.
NYS Veterinary Medical Society Blocked Ban on Declawing of Cats Legislation for Years
has lobbied on behalf of this legislation for many years. The main opposition has been from the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, who have prevailed in blocking passage of the bill, not due to greed (as many pet owners have accused them), but rather because they have felt that this is a veterinary decision and believe the public has no right to limit Society members from determining what is best for their patients. They express concern that this passage of the anti-declawing legislation opens the door to prohibiting other practices such as debarking/devocalizing dogs and cats—euphemistically termed “bark-softening” by practitioners who perform these drastic surgeries.
Additionally, the NYSVMS supported their opposition based on outdated and inaccurate “facts,” such as that declawing is necessary for immunocompromised patients, and that not declawing cats will result in their increased relinquishment to shelters and decreased adoption rates if they are not declawed. These “facts” are no longer true: the 10 municipalities in California and Colorado have seen decreased relinquishment and increased adoptions since their bans became law, and the majority of medical organizations support declaw bans since declawed cats are more likely to bite, which constitutes a greater threat to human health.
NYSHA Congratulates Governor Cuomo, The Paw Project, and Our Own Dr. Cheever for Helping to Get This Legislation Passed
NYSHA would like to commend Governor Cuomo for his enlightened approval, and especially commends The Paw Project for their invaluable lobbying efforts in our state. We are proud that Dr. Holly Cheever, NYSHA’s Vice President, was a member of the Paw Project’s leadership team as co-director in New York, working MANY YEARS on this long-awaited protection for our feline friends! Read Dr. Cheever’s article on the harmful effects of declawing cats.
New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XXXIV, Fall 2019.