Californians, the claw stops here, help stop declawing

The first time I saw an onychetomy or declaw was on a 10-week-old kitten. I worked at the vet hospital where it was performed and asked if I could witness the procedure. A sedative with local anesthesia was given and each toe was tied off to stem bleeding. And then snip! Each toe was, in my view, violently removed from the kitten's body. The kitten twitched a couple of times. When I made up his cage, I had to use special bedding and special cat litter because, in the vet's words, "Declaws hurt a lot." When the kitten woke up, it was to a new and painful world. He refused to get up and walk, instead meowing plaintively. The reason for the declaw was to prevent possible scratching on furniture.

In California, West Hollywood passed an ordinance outlawing declawing for non-medical reasons. The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) was perturbed by this, claiming cities and counties do not have the authority to infringe upon veterinarians' supposed "right" to mutilate cats. West Hollywood responded that state law allows localities to ban practices they feel are inherently cruel. It was a city v. state law battle brewing. The CVMA took it to the legislature and sponsored legislation to restrict cities' rights to outlaw egregiously cruel practices, like declawing. Declawing, according to the CVMA, is a necessary part of being a veterinarian and to outlaw it would infringe upon vets' normal job duties. The 2008 bill failed but was brought back in 2009 and has tragically become state law.

But any local law introduced or passed before January 1, 2010 (when the state law goes into effect) will be exempt from the state law. This means there is still a chance to prevent unnecessary suffering in house cats. The Paw Project is working tirelessly to implement laws that ban declawing before the deadline. San Francisco, Santa Monica and Los Angeles are all considering prohibiting declawing in their cities.

If you live in San Francisco, Santa Monica or Los Angeles, please contact your elected represenatives and ask they ban the unnecessary, cruel practice of declawing. Visit The Paw Project for contact information.


Babz said...

This is so important, they need to get a ban passed as soon as possible. OK some people don't want to be banned by law from declawing but education alone just doesn't work, it has to be stopped and a ban will do just that. I don't live in Santa Monica, San Francisco or Los Angeles, I live in England where declawing was never heard of or performed even before our Animal Welfare act of 2007 made it illegal, but I have written to the mayor and councillors of all of those places asking them to support a ban.
My dream is for declawing to be banned right across the USA, as it is in 38 other countries. Cats need their claws.

Sheila said...

Yup...declawing is barbaric act