It has just been made illegal to declaw cats in Maryland.
Previously, there were a couple of bans on declawing in cities around the U.S., but Maryland and New York are the only two states that ban the procedure.
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It’s also illegal in certain other countries. For instance, it is illegal in much of Europe and some Canadian provinces. It is also banned in various U.S. cities at the municipal level, including Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Many cat parents usually opt for the procedure thinking it’s a quick fix to the unnecessary scratching. But this is far from the truth.
The new law makes it impossible for any veterinary practitioner to perform the procedure unless it is deemed medically necessary.
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Anyone caught breaking the law will be liable for a fine of up to $1,000. What does this mean?
According to the Humane Society of the United States, declawing is an inhumane practice that involves amputating a cat’s last bone on each toe, which would be equivalent to removing a human’s fingers at the last knuckle.
Some opponents of declaw bans have raised concerns that this will lead to more cats being given up.
This is because people who don’t want their cat to scratch furniture or who have concerns about the cats scratching people will be forced to use other ways to keep the cat from doing so.
However, research says declawing could lead to worse behavior, like biting. For example, a cat without claws can be more likely to bite if it feels threatened or has issues with litter box training if its declawed paws get irritated.
The Humane Society also states that declawing is not a simple surgery as most people think. It’s actually unwarranted for surgery with no medical benefit. And it’s not as simple as trimming your fingernails.
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“Our beloved kitties, who cannot advocate for themselves, need us to protect them,” Democratic state Sen. Cheryl Kagan said in a statement .
Gov. Larry Hogan signed the bill into law Thursday and will take effect from Oct. 1st.
1. Declawing cats: Far worse than a manicure. The Humane Society of the United States. Published 2019. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/declawing-cats-far-worse-manicure
2. Jensvold J. Maryland Becomes the Second State to Ban Declawing. The Paw Project. Published April 21, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022. https://pawproject.org/7343-2/
3. Hinson A. Maryland passes animal protection laws, one banning cat declawing. WBAL. Published April 22, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022. https://www.wbaltv.com/article/maryland-passes-animal-protection-laws-banning-cat-declawing/39795791
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