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Cuomo signs legislation banning cat declawing

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Tue, Jul 23rd 2019 09:20 am

Cuomo: ‘By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures’; New York becomes first state in nation to ban cat declawing

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday signed legislation (S.5532B/A.1303) banning the performance of declawing procedures on cats, making New York the first state to prohibit the practice. The bill took effect immediately.

"Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops," Cuomo said. "By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures."

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, "Cat declawing is a brutal procedure similar to severing a human finger at the first knuckle and has lifelong ramifications for cats. I am proud of the new Senate majority's emphasis on animal welfare and am glad the governor enacted this legislation." 

Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal said, "Today, New York becomes the first state in the nation to ban cat declawing. Declawing is cruelty, plain and simple, and with so many low-cost and pain-free alternatives available, there is no reason to allow this barbaric practice to continue, not here in New York or anywhere. It's a wonderful day for the cats of the state and the people who love them. Now that my bill has become law, New York has been catapulted onto the leaderboard of humane states, and we expect other states to quickly follow in out footsteps."

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, “Gov. Cuomo's signing of this historic bill in New York is a watershed moment for the declawing issue, and we hope other states will follow suit by prohibiting this unnecessary convenience surgery. Complications from declawing include an increase in biting and litterbox avoidance, which often results in the cat being surrendered to an animal shelter. The Humane Society of the United States applauds Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, Sen. Gianaris, the Paw Project and veterinarians across the state for their commitment to prioritizing the health and safety of cats in the Empire State.”

Declawing, also known as onychectomy, involves the removal of all or most of the last bone of each of the toes of the front feet, and tendons, nerves and ligaments that allow for normal function of the paw are severed, resulting in intense and chronic pain and other serious medical or behavioral issues. After the claws are removed, cats often shift their gait and where it places most of its weight, causing strain on its leg joints and spine, which can lead to early onset arthritis and prolonged back and joint pain.

Cats' claws play an important role in various aspects of their lives, including to assist in climbing and maintaining balance and to escape danger.

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