New Jersey Joins the Race to Become the First State to Ban Declawing

Animal advocates are cheering the introduction of legislation that could make New Jersey the first state to ban declawing cats.

The bill (A3899), which was introduced this month by Assemblyman Troy Singleton, would ban declawing cats and other animals, with exceptions for cases where the procedure is deemed medically necessary to treat an underlying condition.

Otherwise, performing the procedure, or seeking it out, will be considered an animal cruelty offense under state law and could result in six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Violators could also be subject to civil penalty fines that range from $500 to $2,000.

Singleton’s chief of staff, Hillary Beckett, told NJ.com that he heard about the effort to get this done in New York and wanted to bring the issue to New Jersey.

We are proud to be working with Assemblyman Troy Singleton on his Cat Protection Bill banning declawing in New Jersey….

Posted by The Paw Project on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

New York’s bill was unfortunately stalled earlier this month, but efforts to get it passed there are still ongoing. Meanwhile, passing New Jersey’s version would be a huge victory for the state’s resident cats. While some try to pass off the procedure as a minor one that just removes a cat’s nails, for the cats who endure it, it’s anything but.

The procedure, which is formally known as an onychectomy, involves surgically removing the last joint in a cat’s toe to which the nail is attached. This bill will also ban flexor tendonectomies, which involves cutting the tendons that control the claws, leaving cats unable to flex or extend them.

While many cats find themselves the victims of this procedure because they scratch things , their advocates continue to point out this is a natural behavior for them whether we like it or not. As the bill notes, it’s seen as a quick fix, but it can cause “lasting physical problems and other consequences.”

Declawed cats might not be able to scratch anymore, but their inability to do so may also cause them to turn to other unwanted behaviors like avoiding the litter box and biting as a defense, and worse, they could have to live with harmful side effects like chronic pain for the rest of their lives as a result of the procedure.

There’s really no excuse for doing this to a cat for nothing more than the convenience of owners who value their inanimate possessions more than the physical and emotional well-being of their feline companions – especially considering the fact that there are a number of safe, humane and effective ways to get them to stop unwanted and destructive behaviors.

Hopefully, New Jersey lawmakers will recognize the severity and cruelty of these procedures and make theirs the first state to ban them.

TAKE ACTION!

Please sign and share the petition asking New Jersey lawmakers to step up as leaders who support the humane treatment of our companion animals by banning declawing.

You can also help by supporting compassionate vets who refuse to perform mutilating procedures on pets like declawing and devocalization. If you’re looking for a new one, Declaw.com has a state-by-state list of vets who have pledged not to declaw.

And if you’re state has not proposed a bill to ban declawing yet, start a petition targeting your state representatives and rally support from fellow Care2 members.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

128 comments

Chrissie R
Chrissie R10 months ago

This should be a private decision between a responsible owner and an ethical veterinarian.

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Peggy B
Peggy B10 months ago

TYFS

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Carole R
Carole R10 months ago

Good job, NJ. Keep it moving forward. May all states follow. How about a federal law.

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Danuta W
Danuta W10 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Sue H
Sue H10 months ago

An update would be helpful. Every state needs to Outlaw this horrific practice!

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Michelle L.
Michelle L2 years ago

There are more reasons people might have a cat declawed other than the concern over their furniture. It is not always supposedly superficial and cosmetic damage that someone would opt for declawing. However, damage to homes and furniture isn't necessarily something to be taken lightly, either. It can be quite costly to repair the damage from declawing, and it's not always possible to train a cat to only scratch where a person wants them to. I've had cats my entire life--they're quite the individuals and tend to do as they please. It's one of the things I love about them.

But there are other reasons people might opt to declaw a cat as well--including everything from personal health problems to deterring them from being able to climb into a crib (not that they always need claws to get where they want to go, little Houdini's they are!) All of the past five cats I've had have been declawed--all indoor cats, all happy, none displaying the enduring "life-altering" psychological or physical distress or aggression some people claim declawing causes. In fact, they've all been sweet and gentle and wonderful companions who climb, jump, play and use their litter boxes. They can still defend themselves with their back claws, which is how they were designed (front claws for hunting/fighting, back claws for defense.) I've had some gnarly scratches from some of them while trying to medicate them when they were ill.

This attempt to outlaw banning doesn't consider the ill effects that su

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Michelle L.
Michelle L2 years ago

There are more reasons people might have a cat declawed other than the concern over their furniture. It is not always supposedly superficial and cosmetic damage that someone would opt for declawing. However, damage to homes and furniture isn't necessarily something to be taken lightly, either. It can be quite costly to repair the damage from declawing, and it's not always possible to train a cat to only scratch where a person wants them to. I've had cats my entire life--they're quite the individuals and tend to do as they please. It's one of the things I love about them.

But there are other reasons people might opt to declaw a cat as well--including everything from personal health problems to deterring them from being able to climb into a crib (not that they always need claws to get where they want to go, little Houdini's they are!) All of the past five cats I've had have been declawed--all indoor cats, all happy, none displaying the enduring "life-altering" psychological or physical distress or aggression some people claim declawing causes. In fact, they've all been sweet and gentle and wonderful companions who climb, jump, play and use their litter boxes. They can still defend themselves with their back claws, which is how they were designed (front claws for hunting/fighting, back claws for defense.) I've had some gnarly scratches from some of them while trying to medicate them when they were ill.

This attempt to outlaw banning doesn't consider the ill effects that su

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Mathieu P.
Mathieu P2 years ago

Ne suis contre la cruauté animaux car ils mérite de vivre

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Ane H.
Linda k2 years ago

Great! May it spread all over the world.

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