ALBANY -- New York’s cats may be able to avoid declawing if a bill at the state Capitol is approved.
Lawmakers and advocates gathered in Albany on Tuesday in support of the bill, which would outlaw cat declawing unless medically necessary and impose a $1,000 fine on anyone performing the surgery.
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, and Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, Oneida County, sponsor the bill.
The measure, if approved, would be the first of its kind in the nation, but it has languished for several years. Rosenthal said she was hopeful the measure would pass the Legislature before the session ends in late June.
"It’s almost like cutting off the first part of the toe," she said about declawing.
"It’s an amputation. It causes pain and suffering, all because the cat’s owner cares more about their furniture thank about the cat not having pain and suffering."
Susan Whittred, the director of the cat shelter on Long Island and co-director for the Paw Project, a national group, said declawing is typically used as a quick fix for cat owners -- equating it to removing a puppy’s teeth to prevent them from chewing on furniture.
Still, the bill has yet to garner enough support for passage, and the state Veterinary Medical Society opposes it -- saying it could lead to an increase in euthanized felines.
“For individuals with children, the elderly with certain conditions or those who cannot cope with the behavioral issues of their beloved pet, we fear they will turn them over to a shelter service,” Jennifer Mauer, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement.
An estimated 72 percent of cats that are brought to a shelter are euthanized, she said.
However, in Los Angeles where a declawing ban is in effect, there was a reported 43 percent reduction in the number of owner-surrendered cats the year after the ban was put in place, according to Rosenthal’s office.
This is now the third year that Rosenthal has pushed for the bill.
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