Maryland is poised to become the second US state to ban ‘cruel’ declawing of cats
Maryland is all set to become the second US state to implement a ban on the practice of declawing pets unless it is necessary for therapeutic reasons.
Following New York, which banned the declawing of cats in 2019, the Maryland Senate has now voted on prohibiting the practice. Senate bill 67 is currently waiting for final Governor approval.
Campaigners against the practice of declawing argue that it is unnecessary and cruel. The procedure involves surgery to amputate the last bone on each cat’s toes. This is the equivalent of taking a human finger down to the knuckle.
Supporters of the proposed Maryland ban say that the practice is painful and leaves the cat vulnerable and unable to defend themselves. And according to the American Veterinary Association, the procedure is not medically necessary in most cases.
The Humane Society also states that the procedure should only be performed on a cat for essential medical procedures, such as removing nailbed tumors.
If approved, the Maryland ban would see declawing prohibited unless performed to address a medical condition that could otherwise compromise a cat’s health or well-being.
This means veterinarians in the State would not be able to declaw a cat for cosmetic reasons, make a cat easier to handle or protect property such as furniture from scratching.
Contravening the ban would see a veterinary practitioner face a fine of up to $5,000 for a first offense, then up to $10,000 for a repeat offense, and a suspension or revocation of their license to practice. The Maryland bill would also prohibit anyone other than a qualified veterinarian from carrying out the declawing procedure.
Opponents of the declawing ban believe the final decision should be with the veterinarian when it comes to deciding what is in the best interests of their patients.
However, the issue of declawing doesn’t look to be stopping at Maryland. Delaware has also recently introduced a bill to ban the practice, except for therapeutic purposes.
The practice of declawing cats other than for medical reasons is also prohibited in many parts of the world. Several US cities, including Denver, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco, have already implemented the ban.