ALBANY, N.Y. — New York would be the first state to ban the declawing of cats under a bill moving through the state Assembly.

The legislation, sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, passed the Assembly's Codes Committee by a 17-1 vote Thursday.

Passage through the committee is a critical step toward a floor vote, which Rosenthal said she is confident will happen before adjournment.

Declawing is already banned in Denver, as well as 10 California cities.

Animal welfare advocates and many veterinarians say declawing a cat is cruel and inhumane since it involves the amputation of a cat's toes back to the first knuckle.

The state's largest veterinary association has opposed the bill. It says the procedure should be allowed as a last resort for cats that won't stop scratching furniture or humans.

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