NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A1297A
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to prohib-
iting the declawing of cats
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To prohibit the performance of declawing procedures on cats
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section one amends the agriculture and markets law by adding a new
Section two sets forth the effective date.
Cats' claws play an important role in various aspects of their lives.
Cats use their claws to assist in climbing and maintaining balance, to
help them fully stretch, to relieve stress through kneading and to
escape danger. When a person has its animal declawed, usually in an
attempt to protect furniture, they do fundamental damage to that animal
both physically and in behavioral ways. There are harmless ways to
manage undesirable behavior through simple training and other estab-
Declawing, also known as onychectomy, involves the removal of all or
most of the last bone of each of the toes of the front feet, and
tendons, nerves and ligaments that allow for normal function of the paw
are severed, resulting in intense and chronic pain and other serious
medical issues. Flexor tendonectomy, in which cats' toes are cut so that
claws cannot be extended also imperils their health and safety. Abscess-
es often develop as the area comes into contact with dirt or litter, and
sometimes regrowth can occur spontaneously resulting in sharp pain or
infection. After the claws are removed, the animal tends to shift its
gait and where it places most of its weight, causing strain on its leg
joints and spine, which can lead to early onset arthritis and prolonged
back and joint pain. Declawed cats often develop behavioral problems
that lead to their being surrendered to animal shelters where they are,
for the most part, not adoptable.
Declawing is currently banned in nearly 10 cities in California and in
many countries around the world, including Switzerland, Israel and the
U.K. This bill seeks to ban such practice in New York State.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2015-2016 Regular Sessions
January 9, 2015
Introduced by M. of A. ROSENTHAL, DINOWITZ, MOSLEY, GOTTFRIED, BRINDISI,
LAVINE, GALEF, RAIA, MURRAY, LUPARDO, QUART, SEAWRIGHT, LINARES, GOLD-
FEDER, SEPULVEDA, SANTABARBARA, RIVERA -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of
A. CERETTO, COOK, CURRAN, FITZPATRICK, GARBARINO, GLICK, KEARNS,
LUPINACCI, McDONOUGH, SIMON, SOLAGES, THIELE, WEINSTEIN -- read once
and referred to the Committee on Agriculture -- recommitted to the
Committee on Agriculture in accordance with Assembly Rule 3, sec. 2 --
committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and
recommitted to said committee
AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to prohib-
iting the declawing of cats
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new
2 section 380 to read as follows:
3 § 380. Prohibition of the declawing of cats. 1. No person shall
4 perform an onychectomy (declawing), partial or complete phlangectomy or
5 tendonectomy procedure by any means on a cat within the state of New
6 York, except when necessary for a therapeutic purpose. Therapeutic
7 purpose means the necessity to address the physical medical condition of
8 the cat, such as an existing or recurring illness, infection, disease,
9 injury or abnormal condition in the claw that compromises the cat's
10 health. Therapeutic purpose does not include cosmetic or aesthetic
11 reasons or reasons of convenience in keeping or handling the cat.
12 2. Any person who performs an onychectomy, partial or complete phlan-
13 gectomy or tendonectomy procedure on any cat within the state of New
14 York shall be guilty of a violation of this section which shall be
15 punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars.
16 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.