Maryland will be the second US state to ban cat declawing for cosmetic or aesthetic purposes

After the House’s vote to ban it, Maryland will be the second state to ban the declawing of cats.

According to the Associated PressNew York passed a similar law in 2019 and many other states are considering banning declawing.

The Washington PostAccording to reports, the bill could soon be sent to the governor for approval after passing the Maryland House and Senate.

A gray tabby

Declawing is already illegal in several U.S. cities including West Hollywood, Los Angeles and Denver.

The Senate Bill sponsor, Democratic Senator Cheryl C. Kagan gave a clear explanation of how the procedure works.

She said that declawing, or what she refers to as de-knuckling, “takes not just the nail, but the nail bed and part of the bone and cuts it off. What happens is that leaves a cavity there, and that makes it very painful for them to walk, to use their litter box or to just be happy little, little campers.”

kitty touching a flower

Declawing is often called an amputation for its traumatizing effects on feline friends.

Senate Bill 67 would ban veterinarians from declaring cats for aesthetic reasons, cosmetic reasons or for the convenience and comfort of their owners. The procedure will be permitted if it is medically necessary.

Kagan also pointed out how the bill, which was introduced in a session of 2020, will protect cats in future. She stated that average Marylanders do not have a special interest, but are eager to help their beloved pets.

“You can’t ignore the fact that animal lovers are outspoken activists, and this is an election year,” she said.

Veterinarians who break the law could face a $5,000 fine for the first offense and a $10,000 penalty for the second. If they perform the procedure without a valid explanation, their license will be revoked and/or suspended.

A cat's paw

The Maryland Senate heard testimony from several pro- and anti-declawing veterinarians.

Moira Cyphers, a lobbyist for the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, said that declawing is taken as “a last resort” and its popularity has declined in the last decade.

Experts in the field hope that the inhumane practice will cease.

“While the U.S. veterinary community is increasingly opposed to declawing, we can’t continue to wait for the profession to end declawing on its own,” said Danielle Bays of the Humane Society of the United States.

The organization states on its website that people often assume that declawing is a simple surgery that removes a cat’s nails, similar to when humans get their fingernails trimmed. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

A woman on a bed with two cats

“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.”

A cat does not receive any medical benefits from the surgery. Instead of having their claws removed, pet owners can train their cats to use their claws in a way that won’t damage people and objects.

PETA and the American Veterinary Medical Association support declawing.

“Declawing is a violent, invasive, painful, and unnecessary mutilation that involves 10 separate amputations – not just of cats’ nails but of their joints as well,” PETA wrote on its website.

“Declawing is both painful and traumatic, and it was been outlawed in Germany and other parts of Europe as a form of cruelty.”

Pisco the cat
pisco the cat

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, declawing a cat can only be done after other methods of controlling their scratching behavior have been exhausted or if it has been determined that that feline’s claws present a “human health risk.”

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