Michigan House Democrats have introduced a bill that would ban the practice of declawing cats in the state.
New York is the only state that bans cat declawing, but several countries have similar bans, including Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and seven Canadian provinces.
“Owning a pet is a big decision but abusing an animal and causing them long-term persistent pain to make caring for them easier for the pet owner is unacceptable,” said Rep. Nate Shannon (D-Sterling Heights), sponsor of House Bill 5508. “I want to encourage responsible and ethical pet ownership with this bill.”
Shannon said there are an estimated 94 million pet cats in the U.S. and 20 percent of them are declawed, though the figure could be much higher due to under-reporting. His office said in a statement that the procedure, formally called a phalangectomy, completely amputates the last bone in each toe of the cat – the equivalent of removing the last knuckle from a finger.
The procedure is “far more intrusive and harmful than some people may realize,” his office said.
New York became the first state in the nation to ban cat declawing in July 2019.
“Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement after signing the bill into law. “By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures.”
Shannon’s bill states that an individual “shall not perform by any means” a phalangectomy or any other “surgical procedure that prevents normal functioning of the claws.” The bill makes an exception for cases in which the procedure serves a “therapeutic purpose.” A violation of the bill would result in a civil fine of up to $1,000.
His bill has 20 cosponsors in the House and was assigned to the House Agriculture Committee for consideration.
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