Bill that would make it illegal to declaw cats moving through Arizona House

Those in opposition to the bill think the decision to declaw should be left to the pet owner.
Those in opposition to the bill think the decision to declaw should be left to the pet owner.(AZ Family)
Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 9:56 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Some cat owners declaw their felines to prevent scratching and damage. But a bill making its way through the Arizona House would make declawing a cat illegal.

“It’s a pretty serious procedure. It’s not one I would undertake lightly as a veterinarian or a client,” Valley veterinarian Rachael Kreisler said.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Amish Shah, a Democrat from Phoenix, says cat declawing needs to stop. He says it is cruel. House Bill 2224 would ban pet owners from declawing their cats. It would also impose fines of up to $1,500 or even suspend the license of any veterinarian that performs the procedure. “It has been widely condemned as cruelty and it is illegal in 40 countries across the world,” Rep. Shah said.

Shah says there is only one exception to the bill. “The only way in which this way the bill allows the declaw of cats is if it serves a therapeutic purpose for the cat so for example, if the cat has a tumor,” he said.

Many were vocal about this bill during the committee meeting, including the head of the Arizona Humane Society. “It is not necessary. They can be managed very easily,” Steven Hansen, the Arizona Humane Society CEO, said.

Hansen also said declawing can often lead the cat to react in other ways like biting, which can be more serious. “They are in pain and no longer able to defend themselves with their claws so cats may resort to biting,” another veterinarian said.

Those in opposition to the bill think the decision should be left to the pet owner. “At the end of the day, this is a decision that needs to be made by the client, the owner of the pet, for what’s in the best interest of the pet and their household,” Susie Stevens, who was representing the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association said.

The Humane Society and the ASPCA call cat declawing an unnecessary treatment. We will keep you updated on the progress of the bill. It is now heading to the full House.

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