Declawing cats is a cruel and barbaric practice yet remains legal across the United States. Now Pittsburgh’s city council has moved to finally halt this harmful procedure.
According to KDKA TV, the Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed legislation that could stop the practice by charging veterinarians found declawing cats with a $500 fine. Now the legislation is headed to the mayor’s desk.
“How we treat animals speaks to our deepest values,” said Pittsburgh City Councilman Bobby Wilson, who introduced the legislation. “Declawing a cat does not just mean removing its nails,” Wilson said in a statement. “If this happened to a human, it would be like cutting off each finger and toe at the last knuckle.”
In addition to subjecting cats to extreme physical pain, declawing also subjects its victims to long-term behavioral issues.
Because they can’t use their claws–a cat’s primary defense mechanism–declawed cats bite when they’re feeling threatened, display long-term trust issues, and often have trouble using the litterbox, according to The Trib.
“There’s no good reason for this practice,” said Jackson Galaxy, one of several cat behavioral experts who testified ahead of the vote. “It’s heartbreaking.”
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Adding insult to injury – literally in this case – is that declawed cats are often surrendered when their behavioral issues finally overwhelm their owners, who started this cruel cycle by declawing them in the first place.
One shelter director told council members that shelters are overwhelmed with unruly declawed cats who are surrendered by their owners. Now they’re nearly impossible to adopt.
If this legislation is signed into law, Pittsburgh would become the first Pennsylvania city to ban declawing cats, joining just a handful of other U.S. cities–including New York, Austin, and Los Angeles. In LA, banning declawing also led to a decrease in owner surrenders, according to Jennifer Conrad, a veterinarian who spoke at the hearing.
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