Proposed cat declawing ban passes New York Legislature

Posted: Updated:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's Legislature passed a bill Tuesday that would make the state the first in the U.S. to make it illegal to declaw a cat.

The bill, which would subject veterinarians to $1,000 fines for performing the operation, now heads to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose representatives said he will review the bill before deciding if he will sign it.

Declawing a cat is already illegal in much of Europe as well as in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver, but no other U.S. state has voted to ban the procedure, which involves amputating a cat's toes back to the first knuckle.

Unlike human nails, a cat's claws are attached to bone, so declawing a feline requires a veterinarian to slice through tendon and nerves to remove the last segment of bone in a cat's toes.

Supporters of the ban include animal welfare advocates, some cat owners and some veterinarians, who argue the practice is cruel and barbaric. They have predicted that other states will follow with their own bans.

"New York prides itself on being first," said the bill's sponsor in the state Assembly, Manhattan Democrat Linda Rosenthal. "This will have a domino effect."

The New York State Veterinary Medical Society had opposed the bill, arguing that declawing should be allowed as a last resort for felines that won't stop scratching furniture or humans - or when the cat's owner has a weakened immune system, putting them at greater risk of infection from a scratch.

"Medical decisions should be left to the sound discretion of fully trained, licensed and state supervised professionals," the society said in a memo opposing the legislation.

Under the bill, veterinarians could still perform the procedure for medical reasons, such as infection or injury.

The bill was first introduced years ago and has slowly gained momentum as more lawmakers came out in support. Tuesday was the first time the measure has gone to a vote in either the Senate or Assembly.

Cuomo and the majority of lawmakers in both houses of the Legislature are Democrats.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

6/4/2019 4:58:06 PM (GMT -4:00)

  • Brooklyn SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Guide: Thrilling roller coasters in the tri-state area

    Guide: Thrilling roller coasters in the tri-state area

    THE JOKER is located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ.THE JOKER is located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ.
    THE JOKER is located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ.THE JOKER is located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ.

    Looking for some excitement this summer? Check out some of these thrilling and extreme roller coasters, all located in the tri-state area.

    Looking for some excitement this summer? Check out some of these thrilling and extreme roller coasters, all located in the tri-state area.

  • Memories of Woodstock on its 50th anniversary

    Memories of Woodstock on its 50th anniversary

    Thursday, August 15 2019 2:10 PM EDT2019-08-15 18:10:36 GMT
    The three-day festival of love and music featured some of the biggest musical names from the summer of love, including Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and The Who.
    The three-day festival of love and music featured some of the biggest musical names from the summer of love, including Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and The Who.
  • Just Married in Brooklyn

    Just Married in Brooklyn

    News 12 Brooklyn wants to announce your wedding.News 12 Brooklyn wants to announce your wedding.

    News 12 Brooklyn wants to announce your wedding. If you were married in the past 90 days, please submit your photos via Twitter or Instagram using #JustMarriedBK.  

    News 12 Brooklyn wants to announce your wedding. If you were married in the past 90 days, please submit your photos via Twitter or Instagram using #JustMarriedBK.  

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."