New York would be the first state in the US to ban the declawing of cats under legislation approved by lawmakers at the request of cat owners, animal welfare advocates, and many veterinarians who call the procedure cruel and needless. The bill, which would subject veterinarians to $1,000 fines for performing the operation, now heads to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, whose representatives said he will review the bill before deciding if he will sign it, the AP reports. "Cats of New York: Show me your claws," said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat, who pushed the bill for years despite opposition from state's largest veterinary society. She called cat declawing "barbaric and inhumane."
Declawing a cat is already illegal in much of Europe and in several Canadian provinces, as well as in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver, but no other US state has voted to ban the procedure, which involves amputating a cat's toes back to the first knuckle. The New York State Veterinary Medical Society had opposed the bill, arguing that declawing should be allowed as a last resort for felines that won't stop scratching furniture or humans—or when the cat's owner has a weakened immune system, putting them at greater risk of infection from a scratch. Under the bill, which easily passed the Democrat-led Senate and Assembly, veterinarians could still perform the procedure for medical reasons, such as infection or injury.
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