Michigan may become the second state in the country, after New York, to ban the practice of declawing cats.
State Rep. Nate Shannon, D-Sterling Heights, and 20 other Michigan legislators have introduced a bill that would prohibit the practice unless it is for therapeutic purposes.
“An individual shall not perform by any means an onychectomy, a partial or complete phalangectomy, or a tendonectomy procedure, or any other surgical procedure that prevents normal functioning of the claws, on a cat in this state, unless the procedure is necessary for a therapeutic purpose,” House Bill No. 5508 says.
The bill also defines “therapeutic purpose” as a need to alleviate physical pain or any existing medical conditions in a cat.
The bill goes further in its definition of what is allowed by specifically excluding certain practices from being protected.
“Therapeutic purpose does not include cosmetic or aesthetic reasons or reasons of convenience in keeping or handling a cat,” the bill says.
A civil fine of up to $1,000 could be imposed on any individual who violates the proposed legislation.
The practice of declawing is commonly administered to protect the furniture of the homes where these felines reside.
But declawing is not medically necessary in most cases, the American Veterinary Medical Association said, adding that there are other solutions to scratching.
“If you want the cats to stay off your furniture you give them something to scratch on like a scratching post or kitty condo, there are harmless ways to address that,” said cat enthusiast and Humane Society volunteer Myra Lueck.
Opponents of the procedure are hoping to gain momentum in pushing through bans.
“Declawing is cruelty, plain and simple, and with so many low-cost and pain-free alternatives available, there is no reason to allow this barbaric practice to continue,” said Linda B. Rosenthal, the New York Assembly member who sponsored the state’s bill.