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State lawmakers debating ban on declawing cats

Posted at 2:43 PM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-18 10:58:41-04

New York would be the first state to ban the declawing of cats under a legislative proposal that has divided veterinarians.

Several vets supportive of a ban lobbied lawmakers at the state Capitol Tuesday. They say the procedure, which involves cutting through bone, tendon and nerves to amputate the first segment of a cat's toes, is unnecessary and cruel.

But the state's Veterinary Medical Society opposes prohibition, saying the procedure saves cats with scratching behavior from being euthanized. They say declawing is a decision best left to cat owners and veterinarians and not lawmakers.

The bill is before both the Senate and Assembly but no vote has been scheduled. Assembly sponsor Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat, says support is growing as more cat owners learn the details of the procedure.

7 Eyewitness News spoke with Dr. Jen Conrad, the founder and director of The Paw Project. The organization is dedicated to banning the declawing of all cats.

"It is one the most painful surgeries in veterinarian medicine." said Dr. Conrad.

She said technically, the procedure is the amputation of the cat's toe bone.