Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, State Senator Mike Gianaris Announce Passage Of First-In-The-Nation Legislation To Ban Cat Declawing

New bill would impose $1,000 fine for medically unnecessary declawing procedures

Albany, NY – Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris today announced that both the New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation (S.5532B/A.1303A) to ban cat declawing in New York. Once it is signed, New York will become the first state in the nation to enact such a proposal.

"Declawing a cat is not like getting a mani/pedi, it's a brutal surgical procedure that involves removing the first bone of the cat's toe and part of the tendons and muscles. Now that New York is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban cat declawing, the days when this procedure is cavalierly offered for the convenience of the owners to protect couches and curtain are numbered," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan).

"Cat declawing is a brutal procedure similar to severing a human finger at the first knuckle and has lifelong ramifications for cats,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. I am proud of the Senate’s emphasis on animal welfare and I am pleased we passed this important proposal."

"I am so honored to work with Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and Senator Michael Gianaris, true champions for animals. New York is on the path to becoming the most humane state in the union," said Jenny Condard, DVW, the Paw Project. The effort to ban cat declawing nationally has been led by the Paw Project, a California-based non-profit organization, which led the successful fight to ban declawing of wild and exotic cats in the state of California.

The bill was also supported by the Humane Society of the United States. “The Legislature’s vote to end the cruel practice of declawing cats represents a watershed moment that will continue to resonate in other states,” said Brian Shapiro, New York State Director for The Humane Society of the United States. “We applaud Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and Senator Michael Gianaris for their steadfast commitment to animal protection and the gains made through today’s historic vote," said Brian Shapiro, New York State Director.

The legislation bans cat declawing unless performed to address a legitimate medical condition. Any person found to be in violation of the law would be subject to a civil penalty of $1,000.

Cat declawing, also known as onychectomy, is the permanent, surgical removal of most of the last bone, and the tendons, nerves and ligaments on the paws of a cat. Declawing often results in intense and chronic lifetime pain for the cat, and also causes unwanted behavioral issues, such as aggression, refusal to use the litter box, depression, biting and/or spraying. Nine cities across the country, including Denver, CO, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Burbank and Culver City, CA have enacted anti-declawing legislation. Legislatures in California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and West Virginia are considering similar measures.