The legislators of New York have spoken, and it is now illegal to declaw a cat in the state thanks to a law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday.
What are the details?
Declawing, officially known as onychectomy, is a common practice in the United States. It is often used as a solution for keeping cats from scratching people or furniture, and in some instances, it is conducted for the health of the animal.
New York's new law bans the declawing of cats (except for treating conditions that compromise the animal's health) and violators can be fined as much as $1,000 for committing the offense.
In a news release, Gov. Cuomo declared, "By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subject to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures."
Animal rights activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals hailed the new law on Twitter, calling declawing "painful and unnecessary mutilation."
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal championed the legislation, and issued a statement celebrating its passage, saying, in part, "It's a wonderful day for the cats of the state and the people who love them."
But the New York State Veterinary Medical Society disagrees. The organization had fought against the bill, arguing that "many doctors direct their patients have their cats declawed when they are immuno-compromised, diabetic, hemophilic, on immune suppressing medication, and for various other reasons."
The organization added, "These cat owners should not need to face relinquishment or euthanasia of their pet because the option to declaw cats is unavailable."
The NYSVMS also stated that "the decision to declaw a cat is a medical decision that should be made by the owners in consultation with a trained, licensed, and state-supervised veterinarian operating within the appropriate standards of practice."
The New York Times reported that Assemblywoman Rosenthal now "wants to work on changing the perception of animals as property," and she hopes that other states will follow suit.
According to the Daily Mail, several cities in California prohibit declawing but New York is the first to implement a statewide ban on the practice.