can you declaw a cat in pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, communities such as Allentown, Easton, Etna, and Pittsburgh have successfully passed local laws to prohibit declaw procedures.

“Declawing is a contentious issue,” Dr. Heart Paw’s director of operations, Julie Sanders, stated via email “The procedure can be performed in a humane and comfortable manner, but it does result in a permanent physical change that may cause lifelong stress or lead to undesirable behaviors associated with that change.” “.

However, she continued, “One of the reasons most of us (veterinary professionals, animal advocates, and pet parents too) either refuse to do the procedure ever, do not recommend the procedure or advise against it, reserving it only as a regrettable option of last resort in a very specific set of extenuating circumstances and qualifications.” was the permanent changes to the mechanics of how cats use their paws. “.

Even groups opposed to declawing have been wary of laws banning the practice, however. On its website, the ASPCA writes, “Legislation to make declawing illegal, while well-intentioned, can be problematic, because, in rare cases, the procedure may be justifiable as a last resort to prevent euthanasia. There is also no meaningful way to enforce a law that includes this exception.”

All these complications compelled state Reps. Liz Hanbidge and Steven Malagari to introduce an anti-declawing bill, HB 1624, in the General Assembly last year. The legislation, which would make the practice a criminal offense statewide, stalled in the judiciary committee. But the lawmakers, both Democrats from Montgomery County, plan to reintroduce it in the 2023 legislative session.

As the General Assembly prepares for a new session, Hanbidge said she is hopeful her legislation will make more headway this time around. Democrats are poised to take the majority for the first time in 12 years, a change that she believes will save bills like hers from dying in committee. In 2021, the year her bill was introduced, only one of the 100 pieces of legislation passed by the General Assembly had a Democrat as the primary sponsor.

Since the practice has long been regarded as cruel, any city resident who disobeys the ban faces a $500 fine.

The same article additionally notes that this is the second pet-friendly action Allentown has taken this year, as the council banned the sale of animals (including kittens and bunnies along with puppies) from mills back in October. reports how the Allentown City Council unanimously voted to ban the declawing of cats on Wednesday, exempting only therapeutic purposes such as illness or infection.

Since 2019, the practice has been prohibited in several states, including New York. (photo by Mikhail Vasilyev via Unsplash).

Three cities already have laws against declawing cats: Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. 2019 saw New York follow suit, which an independent Associated Press article notes was a win for proponents who consider “the practice [to be] cruel and barbaric.” ”.


Is it against PA state law to declaw a cat?

The state also prohibits the cropping of dogs’ ears, debarking of dogs, docking of dogs’ tails, performance of surgical births of dogs, and declawing of cats by persons other than veterinary doctors while the animals are anesthetized. Animal fighting is prohibited in the chapter as a felony of the third degree.

What states is it illegal to declaw cats?

There are only two states in the country where it is illegal to declaw a cat. The first state to ban this practice was New York. New York passed a comprehensive ban on this procedure in 2019. The second state was Maryland, which passed a similar ban in 2022.

Will veterinarians declaw cats anymore?

AVMA discourages declawing as an elective procedure and supports non-surgical alternatives. Declawing is a major surgery involving amputation and is not medically necessary for the cat in most cases.

Is it against the law to Declaw a cat?

Legal Bans New York and Maryland are the first states to ban declawing cats. Multiple other states and the District of Columbia have proposed legislation but have yet to codify the bans into law.