is it illegal to declaw a cat in pennsylvania

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

The same LehighValleyNews.com 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.

“New York takes pride in being the first,” said Linda Rosenthal, the bill’s sponsor, at the time. “This will have a domino effect. ”.

LehighValleyNews.com 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.

The controversy surrounding the practice, which “veterinarians testified is equivalent to removing a human’s finger at the first knuckle,” has been covered by the Associated Press in the past. ”.

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

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.

“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.” “.

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.

In an email, Gillian Kocher, the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ director of public relations, stated that “declawing is a form of amputation.” This is frequently likened to what would happen if a person lost their last knuckle. Its easy to imagine how different our lives would be. Cats are different in that they must use this part of their body even while it heals because they walk on it. “.

FAQ

Can I declaw my cat in Pennsylvania?

Pittsburgh and Allentown have banned the declawing of cats, and a bill in the Pennsylvania General Assembly could make the elective surgery illegal statewide. Veterinarians and animal rights groups say the procedure is inhumane except in certain scenarios.

What states is it legal to declaw a cat?

State
Cat Declaw Legality
South Dakota
Legal
Tennessee
Legal
Texas
Legal
Utah
Legal

Do vets refuse to declaw cats?

Declawing is not offered in any of the 2000+ VCA, Banfield, and BluePearl veterinary hospitals throughout the USA and Canada. Many veterinarians in the USA refuse to perform declaw surgery, because amputating a cat’s toes is an unethical, mutilating procedure.

Is there an alternative to declawing a cat?

Try nail caps. Rounded vinyl nail caps like Soft Paws slip over each nail to allow the cat to scratch without causing any damage. The nail caps are secured with pet-safe adhesive glue and stay on the nail for four to six weeks, at which time they must be replaced.