Two U.S. states have now banned declawing as ‘Merica inches closer to joining the rest of the civilized world in prohibiting the brutal practice.
With a stroke of Gov. Larry Hogan’s pen, Maryland became only the second state to ban declawing, joining New York, which outlawed the practice in 2019. Like New York’s version, the new Maryland law prohibits declawing unless it’s deemed medically necessary.
As most cat lovers know, declawing isn’t the manicure-like operation it sounds like. It’s the totally unnecessary, horrific amputation of a cat’s toes up to the first knuckle.
Declawing inflicts a lifetime of pain on cats, changes feline gait and posture, leads to early arthritis and causes a long list of secondary problems. For example, declawed cats are much more likely to bite because they have no other form of defense when they feel threatened, and they’re also much more likely to stop using litter boxes because it hurts to walk on the sand-like and granule texture of the litter with half-amputated toes.
The fact that so much misery is inflicted on innocent animals to protect furniture is indefensible.
The law goes into effect on Oct. 1, and veterinarians who perform the procedure after that time face fines of $1,000 and disciplinary action by the state veterinary board. We’d have preferred immediate implementation and stiffer penalties to prevent a last-minute rush on declawing appointments and discourage anyone considering breaking the law, but a win is a win, and all the major animal advocacy groups are celebrating, as they should.
Now we’ve only got 48 states to go.