Pending California Bill Stopping Landlords From Requiring Declawing and De-Barking Moves ForwardPublished May 26, 2010
This past April, I shared an item that announced good news for pet loving residential-renters living in California, who abhor the practice of declawing cats and devocalizing dogs. The story concerned the pending legislation, AB 2743, authored by Assembly member Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara). This bill would make it illegal for landlords to mandate tenants to declaw their cats or de-bark their dogs as a requirement for tenancy. So I am very happy to announce the recent update of the status of this pending legislation. The bill has now passed the Assembly 63-7, with incredible bi-partisan support. It now moves on to the Senate in June for further action. The new bill number will remain 2743, but will carry SB in front of it. If the Senate passes the bill, it will then be sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, which animal lovers who find these surgeries to be repugnant, fervently hope will sign it into law, finally ending this inhumane practice once and for all. A civil fine of $2500 will be imposed on landlords who break this law is an essential part written into the bill. Additionally, preferential treatment given to tenants with declawed or de-barked dogs or publishing rental ads which are written in a prejudicial manner against potential renters who have animals that are not declawed or debarked will no longer be permitted. In commenting on his reason for authoring AB 2743, Assemblyman Nava said, "Declawing and devocalization are permanent, complex surgeries that can have unintended consequences for property managers, physical complications for animals, and emotional and financial consequences for pet owners. It is unconscionable that landlords throughout California have been requiring these procedures for prospective tenants. My bill is the first step in stopping these policies and promoting safe and easy alternatives to these surgeries, which are increasingly being viewed as outdated." Debra Carlton, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the California Apartment Association (CAA'S) said, "CAA endorses the humane treatment of animals, and as a result, years ago the association purposely decided to exclude any language about declawing cats and devocalizing dogs in our widely used rental and lease agreements. Instead we recommended to owners that they utilize security deposits when it comes to damage to the rental unit as a result of negative pet behavior." Since declawing surgery has no medical value and is only performed by veterinarians to prevent the destruction of furniture, with the many humane alternatives available to cat owners, such as scratching posts, cat trees, clipping claws or the application of vinyl caps on the claws, several months ago, Berkley, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Culver City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica, West Hollywood have already banned declawing cats. In passing legislations, these eight forward- thinking municipalities have courageously asserted that declawing surgery is not only excruciatingly painful it is also cruel, inhumane and unnecessary. California residents can help ensure the passage of this bill by contacting their State Senator asking him/her to support the bill when it goes up for voting in June. Faxes, email and phone calls are needed. Personal written letters are the most effective, however. Even folks who live outside of California can help by contacting your Senators letting them know how crucial this bill is to you. If the bill passes an important example will be set for other states to consider passing similar legislation, which will positively affect all residential animal owning renters. Have you ever been required to declaw a cat or de-bark a dog in order to rent a residence? If so, how did you feel? Leave a comment and share.