The New Jersey state assembly approved a bill on Nov. 14 that would ban veterinarians from performing declawing procedures on cats. If the bill becomes law, it will classify declawing as animal cruelty, and punish pet owners and vets with up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Declawing involves cutting and removing claw and bone from a cat’s paws. The procedure is typically done as a falsely prescribed remedy to limit a cat’s scratching. Declawing can lead to serious infections, nerve damage and bone spurs for the cat, reports The Huffington Post.
“Too often, people think that declawing is a simple surgery that removes a cat’s nails -- the equivalent of having your fingernails trimmed,” notes the Humane Society. “Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.”
If the New Jersey bill passes the state legislature and becomes law, it will be the first state in the nation to make declawing illegal.
In neighboring New York state, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal sponsored a similar declawing bill.
"In most cases declawing is performed as a convenience to the owner," Rosenthal said, reports The Associated Press. "I've heard so many times: 'I have expensive furniture! I have nice drapes!' If your standard is 'I need pristine furniture,' don't get a cat."
“For humans not to respect the integrity of the animal and the animal’s body is criminal,” she said in a May press conference. “However, it’s still allowed, it’s an option, and that’s why we aim to make it illegal.”