Lawmakers look to ban cat declawing in New York State

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ALBANY, N.Y. — Legislation in New York to ban declawing cats is singling out a once-common procedure that veterinarians say is now on the decline.

The measure has divided veterinarians. Some say declawing is cruel because it involves amputating the first segments of a cat’s toes. But others say it must remain legal as a last resort for troubled felines whose scratching behavior can’t be controlled.

New York State Senate Bill S5084 would prohibit declawing of cats and other animals.

Backers of the bill say declawed cats are prone to developing behavioral problems that lead to them being surrendered to animal shelters and “for the most part, not adoptable.”

New York lawmakers are also considering eliminating sales taxes on pet food. They have already voted to allow dogs to join their owners on restaurant patios. Many states have banned a controversial procedure that removes a dog’s vocal cords, and all 50 states now have laws making severe animal cruelty a felony.

Declawing is currently banned in nearly 10 cities in California. It’s also banned in countries around the world including Switzerland, Israel and the United Kingdom.

According to the New York State Senate’s website, the status of the bill is in committee.

The Associated Press and PIX11 Digital Producer Alyssa Zauderer contributed to this report.