Bill That Would Ban Declawing of Cats in NJ Advances in Legislature

Legislation is sponsored by Sen. Troy Singleton

TRENTON, NJ — Legislation that would prohibit the surgical declawing of cats and other animals has advanced in Trenton, with the Senate Economic Growth Committee on Thursday releasing the bill from committee.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) and Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) would prohibit an individual from performing a declawing procedure by any means on a cat or other animal. The procedure could be necessary by a licensed veterinarian if a medical procedure is needed to take place, such as removing a cancerous tumor. 

"Declawing a cat is a cruel practice that more often than not is done for the sake of convenience rather than necessity," said Senator Singleton, who represents Bordentown in the Legislature. "Nationwide, cities have enacted laws to prohibit this inhumane procedure, and it is time for New Jersey to put an end to it once and for all."

"Declawing is seen by many as a quick fix for unwanted scratching by cats," said Senator Gopal. "However, these invasive procedures are medically unnecessary and can cause lasting physical problems and other consequences."

Under the legislation, any person who violates the provision would be guilty of a disorderly person's offense, which is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, a term of imprisonment of up to six months, or both. A violator would also be subject to a civil penalty of between $500 and $2,000.

When a licensed veterinarian determines that declawing is necessary for therapeutic purposes, the vet would be required to file a written statement with the Department of Health and provide a copy to the animal's owner or keeper. A veterinarian who fails to comply would be subject to disciplinary action by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

New York and Maryland, along with several major cities nationwide, have banned the declawing practice.

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