Little cat feet in New York come closer to first U.S. state declawing ban

 Little cat feet in New York come closer to first U.S. state declawing ban

By Barbara Goldberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York crept closer to becoming the first U.S. state to outlaw cat declawing on Tuesday, after both chambers of the state legislature passed a ban on the feline surgery except for therapeutic reasons.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet decided if he will sign it into law, said gubernatorial spokesman Jason Conwall.

"Cat declawing is a horrific, yet often-practiced surgery that leads to a lifetime of pain and discomfort for thousands of cats," said Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan who sponsored the measure. "Today every cat and kitten in New York State lands on its feet as we prepare to make New York the best state for cats to live in the United States."

The bill allows declawing only for therapeutic purposes such as "an existing or recurring illness, infection, disease, injury or abnormal condition in the claw that compromises the cat's health."

Violators would be fined up to $1,000.

The bill passed the Senate 48-12, said Alexander Marion, spokesman for Senator Michael Gianaris, a Democrat from Queens who is deputy majority leader and sponsored the bill in his chamber. It passed the Assembly by a vote of 92-27, according to live video of the proceeding.

The New York State Veterinary Medical Society opposed the proposed ban on declawing, also known as onychectomy.

"It should remain an available option when a cat's health is at stake, but also when a client's health needs suggest they should have their pet declawed and the alternative is abandonment or euthanasia," the non-profit society of 2,000 veterinarians said in a statement.

That could include cats who tend to scratch and live with an owner who has a weakened immune system and therefore faces a greater risk of infection.

Declawing is illegal in many European countries and some U.S. cities. West Hollywood, California, in 2003 became the first American municipality to ban it.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Sandra Maler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date: Jun 05, 2019 04:05:41 IST