Singleton, Gopal Bill to Ban Declawing of Cats Clears Committee

Trenton – In an effort to further protect all animals, the Senate Economic Growth Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Troy Singleton and Vin Gopal, which would prohibit surgically declawing cats and other animals.

“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 (D-Burlington). “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.”

The bill, S-1803, would prohibit a person 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 is seen by many as a quick fix for unwanted scratching by cats,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “However, these invasive procedures are medically unnecessary and can cause lasting physical problems and other consequences.”

The measure includes the requirement that any person who violates this 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.

Under the bill, 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. 

The States of New York and Maryland, and several major cities nationwide have banned the practice.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 4-1.