New York bans cat declawing

New York has banned pet owners from declawing their cats.
New York has banned pet owners from declawing their cats. Photo credit: Getty

New York has made it illegal for cat owners to declaw their pets.

Declawing, or onychectomy, is the removal of an animal's claws by partially amputating their toes. Cats who are declawed typically have their toes removed back to the first knuckle.

Owners who have their cats declawed often do so in an attempt to get them to stop scratching them or their furniture, although it can be necessary for medical purposes such as if a cat develops cancerous tumours in its nail beds.

The new law forbids declawing surgeries except in cases of medical necessity, and outlaws any done for "cosmetic or aesthetic reasons". 

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill on Monday (local time), joining Los Angeles and Denver which have also banned declawing.

Cuomo said in a statement that declawing is cruel to the "helpless" animals.

"By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures."

The Humane Society of the United States says declawing is an "unnecessary surgery" that can give cats lasting physical and behavioural problems such as excessive biting and avoiding the litter box.

Cosmetic declawing is illegal in New Zealand under the Code of Professional Conduct issued by the Veterinary Council of New Zealand in 2011.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) "regards animals as sentient beings, not simply objects for self-gratification, adornment or exploitation".


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