Governor Cuomo yesterday (July 22) signed into law a statewide ban on the declawing of cats, making New York the first state to do so.
“Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops,” Governor Cuomo said. “By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures.”
Declawing, also known as onychectomy, involves the removal of all or most of the last bone of each toe on the cats front feet. Tendons, nerves and ligaments that allow for normal function of the paw are severed, resulting in intense and chronic pain and other serious medical or behavioral issues in the animal.
After the claws are removed, cats often change the way they walk and shift their weight up to the leg joints and spine, which can lead to early onset arthritis and prolonged back and joint pain.
Cats’ claws play an important role in various aspects of their lives, helping them climb, maintain their balance, and escape from danger.
The law goes into effect immediately and makes exceptions for medical purposes. Declawing a cat for any other reason could lead to a fine of up to $1,000.